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Paid Sick Days: Spreading Across the Country
WASHINGTON - April 2 - The New York Times reports: “New York City is poised to mandate that thousands of companies provide paid time off for sick employees, bolstering a national movement that has been resisted by wary business leaders. …The legislation would eventually force companies with at least 15 employees to give full-time workers five compensated days off a year when they are ill, a requirement that advocates said would allow much of the city’s labor force to stay home from work without fear of losing a day’s wage — or worse, a job. The advocates said the legislation would provide paid sick leave for one million New Yorkers who do not currently have such benefits.”
This March, Portland, OR became the fourth city to adopt paid sick days, and the Philadelphia’s City Council voted to pass a similar measure. Statewide bills are moving forward in Vermont and Massachusetts. Residents of Orange County, FL should be able to vote for sick days in August 2014 due to 50,000 voters who petitioned for the ballot initiative.
These recent wins and active campaigns build on past victories in Connecticut, which passed the first statewide law in 2011, Seattle in 2011, Washington DC in 2008, San Francisco in 2006, and a November 2012 ballot initiative in Long Beach, California granting sick days to hotel workers. At the federal level, Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Tom Harkin introduced the Healthy Families Act this March, which would set a national sick days standard.
Bravo is the Executive Director of Family Values @ Work, a national network of city and state coalitions, including the coalition in New York City, working for family-friendly workplace policies. She said today: “Nearly a million New Yorkers will no longer have to choose between following doctor’s orders and putting food on the table or keeping the lights on. Making sure that working people have money in their pockets to cover the basics is good economics for all of us.
“This victory continues the momentum spurred by recent wins in Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia. We know New York’s coalition will continue the fight until every single New Yorker has access to paid sick days—just as the movement to value families at work continues across the country.
“This month, Portland, OR became the fourth city to adopt paid sick days, and the Philadelphia’s City Council voted to pass a similar measure. Statewide bills are moving forward in Vermont and Massachusetts. Residents of Orange County, FL should be able to vote for sick days in August 2014 thanks to 50,000 voters who petitioned for the ballot initiative.
“We hope Mayor Nutter will listen to the Daily News and change his mind about the bill, as their editorial staff did, because of the economy. Workers are still reeling from lost jobs and stagnant wages. Earned sick time means they’ll have more money in their pockets to cover the basics – a boost to them and their families and to the economy.”