Big Wins for Working Families: The Momentum’s on Our Side!
It’s been 20 years since the Family Medical Leave Act, one of the most significant advances for American working families, was enacted. As critical as FMLA is to working families, it provides only unpaid leave. We need to make FMLA more accessible and affordable, and we need earned paid sick days for more routine illnesses.
Today 40 percent of workers don’t qualify for FMLA, and there are more than 40 million working Americans without access to earned paid sick days. “Unfortunately, many people are forced to go to work when they need to be at home caring for themselves or their families,” said Linda Meric, national executive director of 9to5. “It’s time to move forward so that families can come first.”
The good news is that support and momentum are building across the nation for earned paid sick day policies, both locally and at the federal level. Portland and New York City recently joined Connecticut, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. in passing earned paid sick days legislation. Statewide bills are also moving forward in Vermont, Massachusetts and Oregon.
This spring, 9to5 Colorado and its allies won passage of The Colorado Family Care Act expanding coverage to allow FMLA-eligible employees in Colorado to use their leave to provide care for partners in a civil union and for domestic partners who are seriously ill.
At the federal level, the Healthy Families Act was re-introduced.This bill would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days annually to use to recover from short-term illness, to care for a sick family member including domestic partners, to seek routine medical care, or to obtain assistance related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Because of our hard-won victories for low-wage working women and men, multi-billion dollar corporations are pushing back with ‘kill shot’ legislation that pre-empts local communities from passing paid sick day bills. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative public policy group with strong ties to corporations and trade associations, has been behind this effort. Preemption bills have been introduced in ten states.
Join our campaign to ensure that every working woman and man has access to earned sick days and other basic labor protections – by opposing pre-emption bills and supporting paid sick days campaigns. When our country’s workforce is healthy and employed, local economies will thrive and promote broad-based prosperity that benefits everyone.
Read more on 9to5’s progress and upcoming events in the Summer 2013 Newsline.