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Sanders and DeLauro reintroduce bill on paid sick leave


Washington — Recently reintroduced legislation would allow certain workers to annually accrue up to 56 hours of job-protected paid sick leave.

The Healthy Families Act of 2023 (S. 1664 and H.R. 3481) is sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). According to a fact sheet from Sanders’ office, 14 states and the District of Columbia have implemented paid sick leave protections, along with numerous cities and counties. However, 34 million U.S. workers – or 25% of the private-sector workforce and 9% of public-sector workers – lack paid sick time, a press release states.

Under the act, reintroduced May 17, all covered workers would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. That 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. Meanwhile, workers in organizations with fewer than 15 employees would be able to accrue up to 56 hours of job-protected unpaid sick leave annually. That time could be used for the same reasons, unless their employers choose to offer paid sick time.

Employers with existing sick leave policies wouldn’t be required to change procedures, provided the policy meets minimum legislative standards.

“It is time for the United States to join nearly every other major country in the world and finally guarantee paid sick leave,” Sanders said in the release.

Added DeLauro, who has pushed for the passage of the legislation since 2004: “Right now, the United States does not guarantee workers a single paid sick day, and many are not even entitled – under law – to unpaid time. Not even one day. That is shameful.”

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