Massachusetts Voters Approve Nation’s Third Statewide Paid Sick Days Law; Election Results in Four New Sick Time Measures Nationwide

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“Voters from coast to coast turned out yesterday to vote for paid sick days proposals that will strengthen the health and well-being of their communities. Massachusetts, Oakland, Calif., and two cities in New Jersey – Montclair and Trenton – can now be added to the list of jurisdictions that will guarantee workers the basic right to earn paid sick days. Voters in these places have sent a clear message that they want public policies that address the needs of working families.

Paid sick days are overwhelmingly popular and there is clear evidence that they are good for workers, good for business, and good for the health of local communities and economies. Prior to the election, paid sick days laws existed in two states and 13 cities, with eight measures passing this year alone and several other active campaigns and proposals gaining traction. The significant progress we have seen in recent years is tremendously good news for working families.

It is also great to see that minimum wage increases were approved in four states and two cities yesterday – in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, and Oakland and San Francisco, Calif. Living wages are critical to the economic security of women and their families, and yet the federal minimum and sub-minimum-wage rates in this country are appallingly low. These state and local advances should pave the way for the federal level increases tens of millions of America’s families urgently need.

The growing support for and progress on these policies is no coincidence: People want and need measures that promote and protect their economic security and ability to manage job and family. These are not partisan issues; they are common sense economic and family imperatives. As lawmakers consider their upcoming priorities, they should take note of the strong support for family friendly workplace policies like paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, fair pay and more and commit to advancing their own proposals, especially at the federal level.”

About the National Partnership

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

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