National Partnership for Women & Families

Women’s Leader Hails Labor Department’s Proposed Rule for Offering Promise of Paid Sick Time to Nearly 830,000 More Workers

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women amp&; Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — February 24, 2016 —

“The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) today proposed a rule to give 828,000 workers who service federal contracts expanded access to paid sick time, including nearly 437,000 workers who are currently not guaranteed a single paid sick day. The proposed rule is a much-needed and encouraging step toward implementing the executive order President Obama issued in September, and we urge DOL to finalize the measure without delay. Today’s progress comes one week after Vermont lawmakers approved the fifth statewide private sector paid sick days law in the nation.

This development is an important advance that offers hundreds of thousands of workers the promise of having paid sick days they can use to recover from common illness, seek preventive care, or care for sick children or other relatives. Others in the federal contracting workforce will gain access to a greater amount of paid sick time than they have now and the right to use their sick time to care for family members. This is very welcome news at a time when more than 43 million workers in the country still cannot earn a single paid sick day.

We have seen tremendous progress on this issue in recent years, and this rule adds to that momentum. Twenty-seven jurisdictions across the country now have, or will soon have, paid sick days laws in place, and Vermont is expected to join that list within the next few weeks when the governor signs the state’s newly approved standard into law. Many of these laws were enacted in just the last three years. And the longest-standing laws show clearly that public paid sick days policies are good for workers, businesses and economies.

Still, even though the Obama administration has done all it can to increase access to paid sick days among the federal contracting workforce, and state and local lawmakers have stepped up to enact their own common sense standards, Congress has failed to take action to establish a national paid sick time guarantee. It is past time. Access to basic workplace protections that keep people from having to choose between job and family should not depend on where you live or the job you hold. The country needs the Healthy Families Act now.”

The National Partnership convenes a broad and diverse coalition that supports the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a national paid sick days standard. The organization will solicit comments from the public in support of DOL’s proposed rule during the comment period. More information can be found at PaidSickDays.org.

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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