The busy 2011 legislative season continues with paid sick days activity and excitement on both coasts and in the nation’s capital. This week, hundreds of paid sick days advocates, policy experts, workers and business leaders from 23 states gathered in Washington, D.C., for the National Summit on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave (co-hosted by the National Partnership for Women & Families and Family Values @ Work). The two-day event was an opportunity to share new research, creative ideas and best practices for securing paid sick days policies at the municipal, state and federal levels.
On Tuesday, workers and advocates participated in a “day of action” on Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress and their staff about the federal Healthy Families Act and local efforts to establish paid sick days standards in their states and cities. One of those advocates, Jameelah Ferrell from the 9to5 Atlanta delegation, agreed to share her day with the thousands of workers and advocates around the country who couldn’t make it to Washington for the event. Check out the photos and video from her day:
In total, advocates visited nearly one hundred Congressional offices, making the day of action a big success.
And it doesn’t stop there. Last week, the Seattle City Council held a hearing on the city’s new paid sick days bill – a “common ground” proposal hammered out by paid sick days proponents and local business owners. Paid sick days supporters packed the hearing room as the council heard positive testimony from small business owners, public health professionals, workers, mothers of young children and others. An increasing number of employers have signed on to the proposal in recent weeks, building significant momentum for the bill. As restaurant owner Makini Howell so perfectly said, “All of us get sick. I can’t afford losing good employees. And I don’t want to serve H1N1 with your fries.”
On the East Coast, Connecticut’s new paid sick days law, signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy on July 1st, coincides with activity in a neighboring state. Today, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a hearing on its state’s paid sick days bill, S. 930, which would let workers in the state earn up to seven paid sick days each year.
All of this promising activity shows growing momentum following the Connecticut victory. With all the positive energy and commitment we saw at a great national meeting, we look forward to sharing the progress of the vigorous, smart and strategic campaigns around the country in the weeks and months to come.