Healthy Families Act Would Allow Millions of Workers to Earn Paid Sick Days
WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Labor, today reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would allow workers to earn paid sick leave to use when they are ill, to care for a sick family member, to obtain preventive care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.
A video of the press conference can be found here.
"Today, 34 million workers are being forced to choose between forced to choose between taking a day off and losing much-needed pay, or risk getting others sick—some even risk losing their jobs," said Senator Murray. "That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Healthy Families Act today to give workers the flexibility to take days off when they need it. We’re already seeing the benefits of paid sick days in my home state of Washington and I’m going to keep fighting to ensure every worker across the country has the same protections.”
“Every worker should be able to care for themselves and their families when they are sick without having to worry about losing a paycheck,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “While the State of Connecticut was the first in the nation to enact a paid sick days law, more than 34 million workers across the country still lack access to paid sick days. Not only is it in the best interest employees to be able to take a sick day, but it also benefits one’s colleagues and their employer. The Healthy Families Act is a win-win, and I will continue to work to make it the law of the land.”
“Millions of working people across the country do not have access to paid sick leave and are forced to choose between their health and their economic security,” said Chairman Bobby Scott, Committee on Education and Labor. “The Healthy Families Act would establish a national paid sick leave standard and allow workers to earn paid sick leave to use for themselves or to take care of a loved one. This legislation is a comprehensive, proven proposal that benefits workers, while at the same time boosting businesses’ productivity and strengthening our economy.”
“Too many hard working people, including more than a million in my home state of North Carolina, lack access to paid sick days,” said Congresswoman Adams. “No one should have to choose between their health and their paycheck – or their job. I’m proud to support the Healthy Families Act to establish a national paid sick days standard for everyone.”
“As a nurse, I know the failure to allow workers to earn paid sick days isn’t just harmful to individuals and families, it has a direct impact on the public’s health which is harmful to all of us,” said Congresswoman Underwood. “The Healthy Families Act will not only help workers and boost the economy, but it will help keep our families healthy by ensuring workers can recover from illnesses without spreading germs and make sure no sick child gets sent to school or daycare because their caregiver has to choose between caring for them or losing a paycheck.”
"Paid sick days are extremely important in the food service sector. I don’t want my employees to come into work when they’re sick. That puts our customers and my other employees at risk -- it puts my entire business at risk," said Wintana Melekin, co-owner of Momma's Kitchen, and Main Street Alliance member. "But when people don’t get paid if they’re sick, they’re going to come in to work. It's time we have paid sick days for everyone. They're good for our employees, our customers and our businesses."
"Earning paid sick and safe days should be a minimum labor standard just like the minimum wage,” said Ellen Bravo and Wendy Chun-Hoon, co-directors of Family Values @ Work. “The Healthy Families Act will help advance the nation's health, economic security, and racial and gender equity. After 47 local and state wins, it's time to protect all our nation's families."
“No one should have to make the impossible choice between taking time to care for a sick child or recover from the flu and losing a paycheck or even their job,” said Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families. “That is why we are excited to see that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) today introduced the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would establish a national paid sick days standard. The National Partnership has worked on this important bill since it was first introduced more than a decade ago. We know definitively from the evidence generated from states and cities that access to paid sick days supports the economic security and health of workers and their families and contributes to vibrant economies and communities. This is the year when Congress must make guaranteed access to paid sick days the law of the land.”
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 ill, to care for a sick family member, 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.
Studies show that sick paid leave can reduce the spread of contagious diseases like the flu and a national paid sick days policy would reduce emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year.
The Healthy Family Act is currently has 122 cosponsors in the House and 32 cosponsors in the Senate.