Around the country, paid sick days campaigns are making real progress. Just this week, from Washington state to Washington, D.C., measures that would guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick time garnered public attention and critical legislative action.
On Monday, members of Connecticut’s Appropriations Committee passed the state’s paid sick days bill (Senate Bill 913) — the bill’s final hurdle before making it to the Senate floor. The Everybody Benefits Coalition has been working tirelessly to build support and make the health and business cases for its common sense paid sick days law. Rallies at local Starbucks coffee shops and an event with U.S. Representative DeLauro, along with targeted opinion pieces, have resulted in great coverage and support for the campaign. Currently, more than 480,000 workers in the state lack even a single paid sick day to recover from common illness or care for a sick child. To help the campaign make a final push, visit everybodybenefits.org.
On Tuesday, following its energetic Monday launch, the Campaign for a Healthy Denver filed language with the city for its November 2011 ballot initiative to bring paid sick days to all workers in Denver. The measure would have a tremendous impact on the nearly 40 percent of workers in the city who currently struggle without paid sick days. Workers, their families, their communities and the city’s public health all stand to benefit. To put the initiative on the ballot, the campaign will need to get the signatures of roughly 6,000 supporters.
On Wednesday, the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce launched its city council campaign for a Seattle paid sick days law. The coalition released new research and held a community forum to ramp up support and momentum around its proposal. Many of the 190,000 Seattleites who lack paid sick days work in restaurants and other occupations that require regular contact with the public — making passage of the bill critical for both the health of these workers’ families, but also the health of the city and its residents. To find out more about the campaign and to get involved, visit seattlehealthyworkforce.org.
Finally, just today in Washington, D.C., Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Rosa DeLauro re-introduced the Healthy Families Act — a bill that would set an important national standard for paid sick days. Passage of the Healthy Families Act would be a critical step toward meeting the health and financial needs of more than 44 million U.S. workers and their families.
This week’s progress is a testament to the commitment of workers and advocates across the country who refuse to sit back as millions of families struggle without the basic, on-the-job protections they need and deserve. PaidSickDays.org will be keeping a close eye on these bills and campaigns as momentum continues to grow.