The Healthy Families Act
First Focus Campaign for Children, Natalie BrennanHealth Poverty & Family Economics
The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 932/S. 497), sponsored by Representative Rosa DeLauro and Senator Patty Murray, will allow workers in firms of 15 or more employees to earn up to seven days of paid leave for their personal or family medical needs. Several cities and states have adopted their own legislation of this type already.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, three states and 16 cities have paid sick-leave laws and more than two-dozen are considering legislation. Based on these statistics, it seems as though progress was being made on both the state and national level to ensure that our workers do not have to choose between staying home with their sick child and earning wages.
However, progress was halted when it was announced this week that the Pennsylvania State Senate approved a bill that would overturn the paid sick leave law adopted by Philadelphia in February. Beginning on May 13, the Philadelphia law would allow workers to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to a total of 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. The law is expected to benefit about 200,000 people. The state senate is invalidating this law because the legislature believes that uniform business laws should exist statewide, not only in certain municipalities. Yet, Pennsylvania has not shown any progress in mandating statewide paid sick leave. In fact, the legislature is attempting to adopt a bill prohibiting any municipality in the commonwealth from adopting a similar sick leave bill to Philadelphia.
Paid sick leave has enormous benefits to both children’s health and overall family economic security. Most workers in low-wage positions spend most of their time in contact with other people. However, these are the individuals who, almost certainly, do not have paid sick leave; and when they are sick, they must go to work. When sick service workers go into work, they are likely to spread their illness to the general public. Since a majority of low-wage positions are in food service and childcare, lack of paid sick leave gets children sick. When parents are able to use paid time off to care for their family, children recover from illness faster and are more likely to receive regular check-ups. Economically, paid sick leave creates job security, and ensures that parents will not lose their jobs if they stay home with their sick children.
Paid sick leave should not be a political issue since it determines the health of our children and the stability of our families. To ensure that America’s families remain healthy and stable, paid sick leave legislation must progress at the municipal, state, and federal levels.
How #paidleave keeps kids and families healthy >> http://bit.ly/1DHjtpu via the @Campaign4Kids blog #InvestInKids
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Want to learn more? First Focus Campaign for Children is a bipartisan organization advocating to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Learn more about our work on family economics.
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