National Paid Sick Days Law Would Help Workers, Families, Communities

This statement can be attributed to Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Washington, D.C., March 14, 2019—The Healthy Families Act, reintroduced today by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), would guarantee workers at least seven job-protected paid sick days per year. The bill is a critical workplace protection that would dramatically improve the lives of low-wage workers across the country. While 11 states, the District of Columbia, and 22 localities already provide workers paid sick leave benefits, it’s time for Congress to pass federal legislation that guarantees paid sick days for all our nation’s workers.

The need is great: 35 million workers currently do not have any paid sick leave. Low-wage workers are disproportionately left out, with only 3 in 10 workers in the bottom 10 percent of wage earners having this life-changing benefit. Without paid sick leave, workers are forced to make impossible choices between health and employment—taking time off can lead to economic instability, forgone wages, and even job loss. In fact, as many as one in seven workers have lost jobs because they were sick or needed to care for a loved one. Among low-wage workers, job loss often leads to poverty.

When families lose income or jobs simply because they are sick, communities also face the consequences of workers who are unable to spend their earnings and stimulate the local economy.

Passing this legislation benefits low-wage workers and their families, employers, and the wellbeing of communities. The reintroduction of the Healthy Families Act is an important federal policy that would improve the lives of low-income families. The Center for Law and Social Policy urges Congress to act swiftly to pass the bill.

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CLASP is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty organization advancing policy solutions for people with low incomes. For 50 years, we've offered trusted expertise, a deeply knowledgeable staff, and practical yet visionary approaches to opportunity for all. CLASP centers the voices of people with low incomes, equips advocates with strategies that work, and helps public officials put good ideas into practice. Our solutions directly address the barriers people face because of race, ethnicity, and immigration status. For more information, visit clasp.org and follow us on Twitter @CLASP_DC.