Paid Sick Days
The nation has entered an exciting new era that will allow millions of lower-wage workers to access health care insurance. Tragically, many of these workers will be unable to take advantage of this historic new benefit because they cannot take time off of work to get the care they need due to lack of paid sick days. As part of its work life and job quality work, CLASP advocates for state and federal paid sick days policies that will allow more workers to take time off when they need to tend to their own or a family member's health.
Nov 5, 2014 | PERMALINK »
Job Quality Wins at the Ballot Box; Next Up: Federal Laws and Implementation
Good jobs are a bipartisan issue—that was the message from voters in yesterday’s midterm elections.
In Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota—states where Republicans won gubernatorial and Congressional races—and in several cities in California, voters resoundingly supported initiatives to increase the minimum wage. Cities and counties in Wisconsin and Illinois also supported minimum wage initiatives in non-binding referenda. In Oakland, California; Trenton and Montclair, Jersey; and Massachusetts, workers were also winners with the passage of paid sick days ballot initiatives.
Advocates in all of these jurisdictions have worked tirelessly for this long-awaited victory. Their efforts have built consensus within communities across the country that no one should work full-time, but still live in poverty; parents shouldn’t have to choose between taking care of a sick child and earning a day’s wages; and workers shouldn’t have to show up at work when they ought to be at home recovering from illness. For working families, these are exciting outcomes that will help bolster the nationwide fight for improved job quality and counter the spread of inequality.
Massachusetts’ paid sick days victory at the ballot box comes on the heels of California’s recently passed statewide paid sick days legislation. Until last month, Connecticut was the only state to have such a law. But momentum for paid sick days standards has been building at the local level for some time, with San Francisco passing the nation’s first law in 2007, and an additional nine cities passing laws just in 2014. With a total of three state and 16 city paid sick days laws now in effect or soon to be enacted, the days of counting the country’s sick time protections on one hand are long gone.
In the wake of this week’s victories, ensuring proper implementation and enforcement of existing and newly passed paid sick days laws is critical. Going forward, advocates and government agencies must work together to ensure that recent (and less-recent) paid sick days laws are making a meaningful difference in the lives of working families. On both coasts, agencies charged with paid sick days implementation are already stepping up their game. Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights recently announced a new set of strategies to boost employer compliance, now that the city’s law has been effective for more than two years. And New York City is ready to issue its first fines to employers that have failed to comply with the city’s recently enacted law.
Although the results of yesterday’s Congressional election may appear to make action at the national level less likely, it is critical that we continue to push for passage of the Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1286/S.631), the federal paid sick days bill that would guarantee millions more workers access to paid sick days, regardless of what state or city they live in. Indeed, this week’s clear show of bipartisan support for paid sick days, minimum wage, and other job quality measures—which echoes earlier polling results—will hopefully be an eye-opener for both newly elected and returning Members of Congress as they plan their legislative agenda for the coming session. At the same time, as we advocate for passage of federal paid sick days legislation, local and state campaigns are more important than ever in paving the way to a national labor standard.
- Scott Behson | Jun 09, 2014 Paternity Leave for All Dads
- Liz Ben-Ishai | Jun 06, 2014 Getting Down to Business Newsletter - June 2014
- Lauren French | May 14, 2014 Growing Attention on Paid Leave as a Dimension of Inequality
- Lauren French | May 02, 2014 How Good Jobs Help Parents Meet Babies’ Vaccination Schedules
- Lauren French | Apr 24, 2014 Earned Sick Days Contribute to Safe Workplaces
- Liz Ben-Ishai | Nov 10, 2014 Implementing Earned Sick Days Laws: Top Tips from Connecticut, San Francisco, Seattle and New York City
- CLASP | Sep 16, 2014 New Census Data Tell Us That Poverty Fell in 2013
- Aug 28, 2014 A Job Creation and Job Quality Agenda for Labor Day
- CLASP | Jul 12, 2014 Steps to Implement D.C.’s Earned Sick and Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Laws
- Alex Wang, Jeffrey Hayes, and Liz Ben-Ishai | Jul 03, 2014 As Foreign-Born Worker Population Grows, Many Lack Paid Sick Days