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Caroline Fan on March 5, 2009 - 10:40am
Fifteen states have introduced paid sick days legislation to ensure that workers are able to regain their health without losing pay, or even worse, their jobs. These are based on model policies that have already passed in San Francisco, CA, Milwaukee, WI and Washington, DC.
During fragile economic times, workers are too often forced to choose between their health, or the health of their kids, and maintaining a paycheck. Paid sick days legislation helps families avoid that tradeoff, while increasing workplace productivity by ensuring that workers don’t have to work while sick, thereby decreasing the spread of disease to coworkers. Many bills under debate protect parents’ ability to take care of their children and other immediate family members, and time off to deal with domestic abuse. A number of bills have especially promising campaigns:
- North Carolina’s HB 177 has been introduced and is supported by more than 30 organizations, including the AARP and ACORN.
- Connecticut’s HB 6187 passed out of committee and is closer to becoming law.
- Minnesota's HF 612 / SF 461 is scheduled for a committee hearing on March 6th.
- Massachusetts’s HD 1726 / SD 624 is being promoted as creating an equal playing field for all businesses, since the majority of workers in Massachusetts already have some form of paid sick days, and as a way to contain health care costs in the state. A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that paid sick days legislation would save $1.5 million annually in health care expenditures just from lower flu contagion at work.
Advocates promote paid sick days as both a moral issue but also smart, common sense policy that can hold down health care costs while increasing productivity and decreasing turnover.
Everybody benefits - Connecticut's Campaign for Paid sick days
National partnership for women and families
Valuing Good Health in Massachusetts - Institute for women's policy research.
Paid Sick Days on Ballot in Milwaukee - Progressive States Network