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 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.