Earlier this month, lawmakers in Washington state held a hearing to consider proposed paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance bills. The Washington Work and Family Coalition turned out in force to show support for these family friendly proposals – and for good reason: One million workers in Washington have no paid sick days.
Don Orange, a small business owner who testified at the hearing, wrote a compelling piece for The Columbian in which he says: “Family and medical leave will be good for my business, but that’s not the main reason I support it. I’m for it because it will strengthen families in my community, and there’s nothing more important than that.” Check out a great round up of the hearing from Public News Service.
The coalition’s hard work paid off – on February 13th, the state’s House Labor and Workforce Development Committee approved both bills. This is an exciting step forward. Be sure to follow the Washington Work and Family Coalition on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.
A paid sick days bill was also introduced in Vermont this month. Voices for Vermont Kids is leading the coalition behind the proposal, which would allow workers to earn seven paid sick days a year.
And in case you missed it, Philadelphia City Council members introduced an earned sick days ordinance on January 24th. Check out Philadelphia Earned Sick Days and its new Tumblr page for more, including a recently released study showing that Philadelphia businesses would benefit from the proposed sick days ordinance.
Stay tuned for more on this exciting activity!
On opposite sides of the country, coalitions of workers, businesses and activists kicked off paid sick days campaigns this week. These newly launched campaigns demonstrate the continued strength and energy behind this family friendly policy.
The Portland City Council held its first public hearing on an earned sick days ordinance on Thursday. The Everybody Benefits coalition, led by Family Forward Oregon, rallied strong support for the ordinance as supporters shared their stories. One worker – whose husband cannot earn a single paid sick day and is afraid he will lose his job if he stays home to care for their sick children – asked the councilmembers: “I wonder if when your children get sick if you take them to the doctor without being afraid. …. What is the difference between you and us?” The council will hold a second hearing at the end of the month. It is expected to vote on the ordinance soon after.
Check out the Portland Tribune for a great wrap up, including City Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s take on the proposal: “This is not a luxury issue; this is a basic civil and human rights issue.” Be sure to follow the Portland campaign on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date and get involved.
In Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday, legislators unveiled the Earned Sick and Safe Time Act. The bill would allow workers to earn seven paid sick days a year – a necessity for the more than 700,000 workers in the state who cannot earn a single paid day off when they get sick. Working Matters Maryland, a broad-based coalition of 65 organizations, celebrated the filing of the legislation with dozens of supporters. As the Baltimore Sun reports, workers and businesses alike support the bill, calling it important for the economy and for public health. For more information, follow Working Matters on Twitter and Facebook.
Coming Up: The Washington Work and Family Coalition is working to advance paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance bills. Learn more and sign up to testify when the Washington state House holds a hearing on both bills on February 5th – the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act.