The push for paid sick days took a significant step forward this week as lawmakers in Connecticut, Illinois and Philadelphia held public hearings on the impact that establishing a paid sick days standard could have on working families, businesses and public health. Committees in Connecticut and Philadelphia voted to advance paid sick days legislation. Amidst efforts to disempower workers elsewhere, the hearings and votes are encouraging signs that issues affecting working families have not been forgotten — and that progress is possible.
In Philadelphia, City Council members listened to nearly five hours of testimony on establishing a paid sick days standard in the city. Currently, 210,000 workers — about 40 percent of the city’s private-sector workforce — lack paid sick time. Bill No. 080474, the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces ordinance, would ensure that these workers can take time off to recover from their own illness, to care for a sick family member or to seek medical care. The Public Health and Human Services committee vote is a major victory for advocates and the city. Next stop: The full City Council.
In Connecticut, where Governor Dan Malloy made paid sick days part of his campaign, advocates held a press conference and rallied outside the Capitol in advance of Connecticut’s first hearing on Senate Bill 913, An Act Mandating Employers Provide Paid Sick Leave to Employees. The hearing included powerful testimony on the legislation, which would provide access to earned paid sick time to about 257,000 workers in the state. The Labor Committee voted 6-5 to advance the legislation. Next stop: The Senate Judiciary Committee. Be sure to check out a new video from coalition member Half in Ten that features compelling stories from Connecticut workers and puts real faces on the need for a paid sick days standard in the state.
Also this week, Illinois legislators considered statewide paid sick days legislation. The state’s Senate Labor Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 128, the Healthy Workplace Act, and then held the bill for further consideration. In a state where 77 percent of the lowest-income workers lack paid sick time, the legislation would have a significant impact on Illinois’ working families.
There is no doubt that the action in these three states has made for a big week in the effort to ensure all working families in the United States have access to paid sick days. In this economy, there couldn’t be a more important time for working families to make their voices heard, especially in support of common sense policies that are proven to have a positive effect on workers, businesses and our communities.
Here at PaidSickDays.org we will continue to keep you updated on what is happening around the country. Get or stay involved in your local campaign and be sure to spread the word. Together, we will keep the momentum going.