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Bad Flu Season Amplifies Calls for Paid Sick Days

(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)

Out sick this week? You weren't alone. In the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in years, states and municipalities across the nation are seeing an increasing focus on workers' lack of access to paid sick time. Unfortunately, in some places, that has also meant conservatives focused on pre-empting and reversing existing protections, including taking away the rights of local municipalities to determine what's best for their communities:

The tough flu season is changing the debate around paid sick days as proposals advance in at least half a dozen cities and states, including Maryland, Washington, and Massachusetts. [Wall Street Journal]

New statistics show that 3 million workers nationwide took time off due to sickness in January, the most in any month since the winter of 2008. [ThinkProgress]

In the New York City mayoral campaign, prominent feminist Gloria Steinem threatened this week to withdraw her support of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn if she continued to refuse to allow a vote on paid sick leave legislation. [New York Times]

In Washington's state Senate, three bills on the issue were debated this week in committee, including one that would extend the protections in Seattle's landmark paid sick days ordinance to the entire state. [Washington Policy Watch]

Two bills that would roll back paid sick leave in Washington state were also debated and cleared committee. [WA Senate Dems Blog]

Conservative Florida state legislators want to ban local governments from adopting paid sick days and living wage standards. [Orlando Sentinel]

 

Read the full Dispatch from February 23, 2013 here.