Today, as paid sick days activity continues throughout the country, Senator Tom Harkin (D – Iowa) introduced an exciting new piece of federal legislation that could establish a national paid sick days standard and highlights the critical connection between workers’ access to paid sick days and working families’ economic security.
The bill, the Rebuild America Act, is aimed at restoring economic growth and rebuilding the middle class. To that end, it includes the exact language of the Healthy Families Act – a bill that would guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick days. In addition, the legislation would increase the minimum wage, establish overtime pay protections, increase investments in education and child care and more.
As National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness said: “[The Rebuild America Act] is an ambitious, comprehensive bill that addresses the real issues facing America’s families. It would surely go a long way in moving the country forward.”
Paid sick days are critical to the economic security of families, yet more than 44 million workers don’t have them. Advocates, legislators and workers in nearly 20 states and cities have taken the lead in pushing for policies that would help more workers gain this basic right. Members of Congress should follow suit by prioritizing bills like the Rebuild America Act and establishing a long overdue national paid sick days standard.
As families across the country enjoy unusually warm weather and prepare for the summer, paid sick days campaigns are heating up too.
In Massachusetts, advocates are rallying on Tuesday to re-launch the state’s paid sick days campaign. The rally follows a victory last week when the bill passed out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, where it was amended to address small business owners’ concerns. Committee Chair Senator Daniel Wolf, a business owner himself, has championed the bill, saying “I will tell you as a business person, the financial impact of [paid sick days] is minimal when compared to the benefits. It has strengthened [my] company. It’s great for morale.’’ The bill now goes to the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing. For more information or to get involved, check out the Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition.
The paid sick days effort in New York City is also getting significant business support. Last week, a group of local small business owners joined with city council members, local residents and organizations in the New York City Paid Sick Leave Coalition to launch “Conscious Consumer, Conscious Business,” an initiative to support and highlight local businesses that value working families and the public’s health by providing paid sick days. The initiative kicked off on Tuesday with a rally at a music hall in Queens. This is an exciting new development, one that will reinforce the benefits of paid sick days to businesses in New York and throughout the country. Stay tuned!
And in Philadelphia, the campaign for a citywide paid sick days ordinance is gathering support inside and outside the City Council. A new bill will be introduced soon by Council Member William Greenlee and the campaign is expected to officially re-launch. Check out the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces to find out more.
We’ll keep you posted as these campaigns progress!