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Murray, DeLauro Reintroduce Healthy Families Act to Establish National Paid Sick Days Policy

Healthy Families Act would ensure workers can earn paid sick days and help keep families, communities and our economy healthy


1 in 4 private sector workers—or 32 million people—still lack paid sick days


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, paid sick days legislation to help keep workers, communities and our economy healthy. Senator Murray and Congresswoman DeLauro have been pushing for the United States to join nearly every other country in the developed world and establish a federal paid sick days policy for years, having introduced the Healthy Families Act in every Congress since 2004.


Today, one in four workers still do not have access to paid sick days. For these 32 million private sector workers—who are disproportionately women and people of color—getting sick or having to care for a sick loved one means having to choose between losing a paycheck or going into work sick and risking the health of their colleagues and their community. This inequity isn’t just bad for workers—it’s bad for our public health and our economy too, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Recent studies show that requiring employers to provide paid sick days reduces the spread of flu-like illnesses and reduces emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year. Another study showed that the emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 helped slow the spread of COVID-19 by roughly 15,000 cases per day.


“This pandemic has made clear what Congresswoman DeLauro and I have been saying for years—paid sick days are critical for the health and economic security of workers, their families, and our country,” said Senator Murray. “As we build back from this pandemic, we cannot settle for an economy that forces workers to choose between their health and their paycheck or pushes women out of the workforce because they have to stay home with a sick child. We must demand better. I’m proud to reintroduce the Healthy Families Act—and I’m looking forward getting this policy across the finish line.”     


“Long before the spread of COVID-19, workers have been forced to choose between earning a paycheck, and in some cases keeping their job, and caring for themselves or a loved one,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “This choice disproportionately falls on women, many of whom have left the workforce during this pandemic with no hope of returning. I am proud to reintroduce the Healthy Families Act with Senator Murray. I hope this is the last Congress we must introduce this legislation and the last year workers are forced to make this choice. We cannot return to normal. We must use the lessons we have learned from this pandemic to build safer workplaces, healthier communities, and a more resilient economy.”


"The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on the impossible choice workers, especially workers of color, often have to make when it comes to earning a paycheck or caring for themselves or sick loved ones," said Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families. "The Healthy Families Act, introduced today by  Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), is exactly the kind of policy we need to prioritize families and public health. Establishing a national paid sick days standard is a crucial measure toward flattening the curve and supporting the economic security and health of workers and their families. For 50 years, the National Partnership has worked to expand paid leave for every worker as a tool toward building vibrant, healthy communities. This is the year when Congress must make access to paid sick days the law of the land."


"The pandemic has brought home how much our individual health depends on the health of every person we encounter," said Sade Moonsammy, Interim Executive Director of Family Values @ Work. "Where people gained access to paid sick time authorized by Congress through FFCRA, research shows a significant reduction in coronavirus cases and deaths. Now is the time to establish a permanent, inclusive paid sick days policy nationwide to ensure everyone can take time for preventive and diagnostic appointments, for healing and recovery, to care for a loved one, or to deal with the aftermath of domestic or sexual violence. We all have a stake in guaranteeing that others can stay home when sick and that staying healthy doesn't jeopardize anyone's job or income. The Healthy Families Act is an essential part of building a care economy that works for all."


The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. This would allow workers to stay home when they are sick or to care for a sick family member—as well as to seek preventive medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act.


A list of the 52 national and 15 state organizations that have endorsed the Healthy Families Act is available here.


Bill text is available here.


In addition to Senator Murray, the Healthy Families Act was cosponsored in the Senate by 37 Senators: Senators Schumer (D-NY), Schatz (D-HI), Duckworth (D-IL), Hassan (D-NH), Murphy (D-CT), Brown (D-OH), Booker (D-NJ), Cardin (D-MD), Smith (D-MN), Reed (D-RI), Warren (D-MA), Cantwell (D-WA), Van Hollen (D-MD), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Wyden (D-OR), Kaine (D-VA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Menendez (D-NJ), Baldwin (D-WI), Gillibrand (D-NY), Peters (D-MI), Hickenlooper (D-CO), King (I-ME), Sanders (I-VT), Markey (D-MA), Bennet (D-CO), Casey (D-PA), Padilla (D-CA), Luján (D-NM), Durbin (D-IL), Leahy (D-VT), Hirono (D-HI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Coons (D-DE), Merkley (D-OR), and Rosen (D-NV).


In addition to Congresswoman DeLauro, the Healthy Families Act was cosponsored in the House by 155 members: Adams (D-NC-12), Aguilar (D-CA-31), Auchincloss (D-MA-04), Axne (D-IA-03), Barragan (D-CA-44), Bass (D-CA-37), Beatty (D-OH-03), Bera (D-CA-07), Beyer (D-VA-08), Blumenauer (D-OR-03), Blunt Rochester (D-DE-At Large), Bonamici (D-OR-01), Bowman (D-NY-16), Boyle (D-PA-02), Brown (D-MD-04), Brownley (D-CA-26), Bush (D-MO-01), Bustos (D-IL-17), Carbajal (D-CA-24), Carson (D-IN-07), Castor (D-FL-14), Castro (D-TX-20), Chu (D-CA-27), Cicilline (D-RI-01), Clark (D-MA-05), Cleaver (D-MO-05), Cohen (D-TN-09), Connolly (D-VA-11), Cooper (D-TN-05), Courtney (D-CT-02), Craig (D-MN-02), Crow (D-CO-06), Davis (D-IL-07), Dean (D-PA-04), DeGette (D-CO-01), DelBene (D-WA-01), Demings (D-FL-10), DeSaulnier (D-CA-11), Dingell (D-MI-12), Doggett (D-TX-35), Doyle (D-PA-18), Espaillat (D-NY-13), Evans (D-PA-03), Foster (D-IL-11), Frankel (D-FL-21), Gallego (D-AZ-07), García (D-IL-04), Gomez (D-CA-34), Grijalva (D-AZ-03), Hastings (D-FL-20), Hayes (D-CT-05), Horsford (D-NV-04), Houlahan (D-PA-06), Huffman (D-CA-02), Jacobs (D-CA-53), Jayapal (D-WA-07), Johnson (D-GA-04), Johnson (D-TX-30), Jones (D-NY-17), Kahele (D-HI-02), Kaptur (D-OH-09), Keating (D-MA-09), Kelly (D-IL-02), Khanna (D-CA-17), Kildee (D-MI-05), Kilmer (D-WA-06), Kim (D-NJ-03), Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-02), Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Lamb (D-PA-17), Langevin (D-RI-02), Larsen (D-WA-02), Larson (D-CT-01), Lawrence (D-MI-14), Lawson (D-FL-05), Lee (D-CA-13), Leger Fernandez (D-NM-03), Levin (D-MI-09) Lieu (D-CA-33), Lowenthal (D-CA-47), Lynch (D-MA-08), Malinowski (D-NJ-07), Maloney (D-NY-12), Maloney (D-NY-18), Matsui (D-CA-06), McBath (D-GA-06), McCollum (D-MN-04), McGovern (D-MA-02), McNerney (D-CA-09), Meeks (D-NY-05), Meng (D-NY-06), Morelle (D-NY-25), Moulton (D-MA-06), Nadler (D-NY-10), Neguse (D-CO-02), Newman (D-IL-03), Norcross (D-NJ-01), Norton (D-DC-00), Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Omar (D-MN-05), Pallone (D-NJ-06), Panetta (D-CA-20), Pascrell (D-NJ-09), Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), Perlmutter (D-CO-07), Peters (D-CA-52), Pingree (D-ME-01), Pocan (D-WI-02), Porter (D-CA-45), Pressley (D-MA-07), Price (D-NC-04), Quigley (D-IL-05), Raskin (D-MD-08), Rice (D-NY-04), Ross (D-NC-02), Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), Ruiz (D-CA-36), Ruppersberger (D-MD-02), Rush (D-IL-01), Ryan (D-OH-13), Sablan (D-MP-00), San Nicolas (D- GU-00), Sánchez (D-CA-38), Sarbanes (D-MD-03), Scanlon (D-PA-05), Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Schiff (D-CA-28), Schneider (D-IL-10), Schrier (D-WA-08), Sewell (D-AL-07), Sires (D-NJ-08), Smith (D-WA-09), Soto (D-FL-09), Speier (D-CA-14), Strickland (D-WA-10), Suozzi (D-NY-03), Takano (D-CA-41), Thompson (D-MS-02), Titus (D-NV-01), Tlaib (D-MI-13), Tonko (D-NY-20), Torres (D-CA-35), Torres (D-NY-15), Trahan (D-MA-03), Trone (D-MD-06), Underwood (D-IL-14), Vargas (D-CA-51), Velazquez (D-NY-07), Waters  (D-CA-43), Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Welch (D-VT-At Large), Wexton (D-VA-10), Williams (D-GA-05), Wilson (D-FL-24), and Yarmuth (D-KY-03).