Worker Health and Wellness Legislation

Sen. Patty Murray, Rep. Rosa DeLauro reintroduce paid sick leave bill

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Washington — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have reintroduced the Healthy Families Act (S. 840 and H.R. 1516), legislation that would allow workers to annually accrue up 56 hours of paid sick leave.

More than 34 million U.S. workers are without access to paid sick leave, the National Partnership for Women and Families states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 percent of employees in private industry lack such access.

Under the legislation, reintroduced on March 14, all covered workers would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. The time could be used when the worker or a family member is ill or attending to the aftermath of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. DeLauro called the bill a “win-win.”

“Every worker should be able to care for themselves and their families when they are sick without having to worry about losing a paycheck,” she said in a press release.

 

Various research shows that providing paid sick time to employees can help mitigate the spread of disease and does not result in increased unemployment.

Under the act, businesses with existing sick leave policies would not be required to change procedures, provided the policy meets minimum legislative standards. Employers with fewer than 15 employees would be exempt.

“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,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, said in the release. “This legislation is a comprehensive, proven proposal that benefits workers, while at the same time boosting businesses’ productivity and strengthening our economy.”

Murray and DeLauro have pushed for the passage of the legislation since 2004.

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