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DeLauro, Murray Reintroduce Healthy Families Act to Allow Workers to Earn Paid Sick Days

March 15, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (March 15, 2017) Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Ranking Member on the Appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Labor, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would allow workers to earn paid sick leave to use when they are sick, to care for a loved one, to obtain preventative care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.

“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 Rosa DeLauro. “While the State of Connecticut was the first in the nation to enact a paid sick days law, more than 41 million workers across the country still lack access to paid sick days. Not only is it in the best interest of the employee to be able to take a sick day, it benefits the employee’s colleagues and employer. We must enact workplace policies that work for a 21st Century economy and our nation’s employees and employers. The Healthy Families Act is a smart policy that should become law.”

“It is unacceptable that 41 million people across the country have to take time off – or risk losing their job – if they catch the flu, if their child is sick, or if they have to take care of a sick parent,” said Senator Patty Murray. “No one should have to choose between their health and their economic security, but our outdated policies are forcing too many workers to make that kind of choice. We are seeing the benefits of paid sick days in seven states and more than 30 cities across the country and it’s time our national policy catches up to ensure all hardworking families are able to care for themselves and loved ones when they need it the most.”

“The Healthy Families Act would put an end to the days when access to paid sick time depends on where people live or the jobs they hold,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “It is a comprehensive, tested plan that would guarantee workers the designated paid sick time they need to meet their health and financial needs while boosting businesses’ productivity and retention, and strengthening our economy. We commend Sen. Murray and Rep. DeLauro for championing this bill and the more than 130 lawmakers who joined them in taking a stand for working families by co-sponsoring it. Anyone who claims to want to keep America’s workers from having to choose between job and family should prioritize passage of the Healthy Families Act.”

Today, 41 million private sector workers do not have access to paid sick days. 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.

More information on the Healthy Families Act is available here.