Legislation

Senate passes amendment on paid sick leave

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Patty Murray

Washington – The Senate on March 26 passed an amendment that would support a worker’s right to earn paid sick leave.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) sponsored the amendment – which is related to the Healthy Families Act (S. 497) – as part of the Senate fiscal year 2016 budget resolution. The amendment passed in a bipartisan vote of 61-39.

“No worker should have to sacrifice a day’s pay, or their job altogether, just to take care of themselves or their sick child,” Murray said in a statement after the vote. “Today’s vote was an important step forward for families in need of paid sick days, and I’m going to fight to get this done.”

The budget resolution passed March 27 in a 52-46 vote, but it is not binding.

About 43 million U.S. workers lack access to paid sick leave, forcing them to choose between working while ill or foregoing a paycheck, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. Proponents of paid sick leave claim that providing such leave to workers can help reduce the spread of contagious illnesses in the workplace, boost productivity and lower health care costs.

The Healthy Families Act would allow workers to accrue up to seven sick days every year to be used for when they or a family member are ill. The legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate.