2011 was a historic year in the effort to guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick days. Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass a paid sick days law, which went into effect on January 1 of this year. Seattle also joined San Francisco and the District of Columbia in granting workers this basic right. And Philadelphia took a step forward by ensuring some workers in the city can earn the paid sick days they need. As we begin 2012, several states and cities are already building on the victories of 2011 — and many more will soon follow!
In Washington state, where legislators, advocates and workers are energized by the recent victory in Seattle, the Washington Family Leave Coalition is working with legislators to build support for a statewide paid sick days bill. Early this month, state lawmakers introduced bills in both houses that would establish a minimum standard for paid sick and safe leave. And just this week, two committee hearings were held on the bills. We’ve also already seen bills introduced in Arizona, Hawaii and Iowa.
In New York City, where support for a paid sick days bill is strong in the City Council, the New York State Paid Family Leave Coalition — a diverse group of labor organizations, business owners and community groups — relaunched its campaign for a citywide paid sick days standard last week with a rally with more than 100 people.
And in Philadelphia earlier this month, the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces kicked off its efforts to build on last year’s victory. The goal: a citywide paid sick days law that covers all workers who need job-protected paid sick days.
2012 is off to an exciting start on paid sick days. As always, we will be watching closely as more cities and states press for this common-sense policy. We look forward to the victories that lie ahead!