Monthly Archive for May, 2011

Connecticut Paid Sick Days Bill Takes a Giant Step Forward

Moments ago, the state Senate in Connecticut passed the state’s paid sick days bill, putting an exciting conclusion to debate in the chamber. Connecticut is now poised to become the first state in the nation to establish a paid sick days standard.

This vote brings the promise of earned paid sick days one step closer to reality for hundreds of thousands of workers in Connecticut who currently have no paid sick time, and its passage is a testament to the hard work of the Connecticut Working Families Organization, the Everybody Benefits coalition, and workers, researchers, and advocates throughout Connecticut and the country who are fighting for paid sick days standards. Today’s Senate vote is a sign of great momentum and progress.

Next, the bill is headed to the state House, and if all goes well there, Governor Malloy – a vocal supporter of paid sick days – will sign the bill into law. Today’s vote shows that Connecticut legislators recognize the impact a lack of paid sick days is having on the state’s working families, and that they are ready to do something about it.

Over the next few days, workers and advocates in Connecticut will be working to ensure that this bill makes it over the finish line. To find out how you can get involved, visit everybodybenefits.org.

In the City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love, A Chance to Stand Up for Working Families

Philadelphia’s workers are hoping the city will soon take a critical step toward changing the way workplaces honor families. As early as June, the Philadelphia City Council could approve a law that provides workers the right to earn paid sick time to recover from illness or care for a family member. With more than 210,000 working people in the city lacking this basic protection, establishing a paid sick days standard should be common sense.

It’s simple: when workers and their families are healthier, our communities and businesses benefit. Yet 44 million workers in the United States lack paid sick days. Every day, these workers are forced to choose between their family’s health and their paychecks. It’s a terrible decision to have to make because either choice can threaten their financial security, their health, and/or the health of their communities.

The choice between health and the ability to put food on the table is unthinkable for most, and it’s particularly hard for working women who support their families as both breadwinners and as caregivers. Strikingly, half of working mothers in the U.S. report having to miss work when a child gets sick. Half of those women, and two-thirds of lower-income women, lose pay when they do so.

Fortunately, in Philadelphia, members of the city council recognize the impact a lack of paid sick days is having on the city’s working families, and they have identified a common sense solution. A vote on the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance could – and should – come soon. The law would allow Philadelphia workers to earn paid sick time they could use for their own illness, preventive care or to care for a family member.

This bill is a critical step toward meeting the needs of Philadelphia families – one with proven benefits for workers and businesses. A similar law in San Francisco has demonstrated clearly that a paid sick days standard can significantly boost the well-being of working families with minimal impact on employers. Bay Area businesses have flourished following the law’s implementation. That success dispels the sky-is-falling concerns raised by opponents from Philadelphia’s business lobby.

Members of the City Council must continue to move forward with the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance. They should look at the proven success of paid sick days laws and remember what is at stake in this debate for Philadelphia’s working families and communities. By establishing a paid sick days standard, Philadelphia can show that it truly values its families. It’s time.

Paid Sick Days Campaigns Charge Forward

Around the country, paid sick days campaigns are making real progress. Just this week, from Washington state to Washington, D.C., measures that would guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick time garnered public attention and critical legislative action.

On Monday, members of Connecticut’s Appropriations Committee passed the state’s paid sick days bill (Senate Bill 913) – the bill’s final hurdle before making it to the Senate floor. The Everybody Benefits Coalition has been working tirelessly to build support and make the health and business cases for its common sense paid sick days law. Rallies at local Starbucks coffee shops and an event with U.S. Representative DeLauro, along with targeted opinion pieces, have resulted in great coverage and support for the campaign. Currently, more than 480,000 workers in the state lack even a single paid sick day to recover from common illness or care for a sick child. To help the campaign make a final push, visit everybodybenefits.org.

On Tuesday, following its energetic Monday launch, the Campaign for a Healthy Denver filed language with the city for its November 2011 ballot initiative to bring paid sick days to all workers in Denver. The measure would have a tremendous impact on the nearly 40 percent of workers in the city who currently struggle without paid sick days. Workers, their families, their communities and the city’s public health all stand to benefit. To put the initiative on the ballot, the campaign will need to get the signatures of roughly 6,000 supporters. To find out more and to get involved, visit campaignforahealthydenver.com.

On Wednesday, the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce launched its city council campaign for a Seattle paid sick days law. The coalition released new research and held a community forum to ramp up support and momentum around its proposal. Many of the 190,000 Seattleites who lack paid sick days work in restaurants and other occupations that require regular contact with the public – making passage of the bill critical for both the health of these workers’ families, but also the health of the city and its residents. To find out more about the campaign and to get involved, visit seattlehealthyworkforce.org.

Finally, just today in Washington, D.C., Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Rosa DeLauro re-introduced the Healthy Families Act – a bill that would set an important national standard for paid sick days. Passage of the Healthy Families Act would be a critical step toward meeting the health and financial needs of more than 44 million U.S. workers and their families.

This week’s progress is a testament to the commitment of workers and advocates across the country who refuse to sit back as millions of families struggle without the basic, on-the-job protections they need and deserve. PaidSickDays.org will be keeping a close eye on these bills and campaigns as momentum continues to grow.