Coast-to-Coast Paid Sick Days Momentum in 2014

Less than two months into the year, remarkable support for and momentum around paid sick days policies are building from coast to coast. At the municipal, state and federal levels, progress continues toward the day all workers can earn the paid sick days they need.

At the municipal level, a paid sick days law in Portland, Ore., took effect on January 1. Soon after, we celebrated the expansion of the District of Columbia’s paid sick days law to cover an additional 20,000 tipped restaurant and bar workers. On January 24, a paid sick days law in Jersey City, N.J., took effect. And only a few days later, Newark adopted its own paid sick days legislation.

There’s also a growing recognition that paid sick days is both good policy and good politics. Newly elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio fulfilled a promise to expand New York City’s paid sick days law, which was passed in 2013 and is set to take effect on April 1. The proposal, which the City Council passed today, guarantees more workers the right to earn paid sick time by expanding the law to cover businesses with five or more employees.

At the state level, a bill in Washington passed the House on January 29, and Vermont’s bill passed out of a House committee on February 11. In Illinois, Governor Quinn highlighted paid sick days in his State of the State address, and his proposal was introduced soon after in the legislature. Paid sick days bills have been introduced for the first time ever in Nebraska and South Carolina. New bills have also been introduced in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii and Maryland. Voters in Massachusetts will likely have the chance to vote on earned sick days at the ballot box this November.

For the latest on the more than 20 active paid sick days campaigns and proposals in states and cities across the country, check out our paid sick days tracking document.

At the federal level, President Obama made a historic call for paid sick days in the State of the Union. “A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship… And you know what, a father does too,” he said. “It is time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.” Some members of Congress have heeded that call. The Healthy Families Act now has 20 co-sponsors in the Senate and 123 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, with several new co-sponsors joining in the last few weeks. With continued progress at the state and local levels, support for the common sense proposal should grow.

It is already an active – and exciting – year when it comes to paid sick days. With even more proposals and victories on the horizon, and growing attention to the family friendly policies America’s working families want and need, 2014 is shaping up to be a year of great progress.

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