Citing the need to protect the health and economic security of working families across Maryland, state legislators on Tuesday introduced the 2016 Healthy Working Families Act with solid majorities in both the House and Senate. “I can’t afford to miss a day’s pay to take time off, even when I feel very ill,” said Baltimore security officer Paul Brown, an SEIU 32BJ member. “Low-wage workers like me know the drill: If you don’t go to work, you don’t get paid. This meant I had to ignore my body’s advance warnings that a heart attack was in my future. I didn’t get treated when I should have and it nearly cost me my life.” SEIU, UFCW, CWA LiUNA, MSEA, AFSCME and more are members of the Working Matters coalition backing this legislation. “Far too many Maryland workers must regularly make impossible choices between their jobs, their health, and the well-being of their families,” said lead House sponsor Delegate Luke Clippinger. “Other U.S. cities and states that have implemented modest earned sick leave laws have subsequently seen healthy business climates, minimal costs, lower flu rates and strong job growth. Maryland can do the same.” Click here to read more...
photo: UFCW 1994/MCGEO members joined delegates at Tuesday’s press conference for a paid sick leave bill; photo courtesy UFCW 1994 Facebook page.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that more than 700,000 Marylanders cannot earn paid sick days to use when they or a family member are ill. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, infected food-service workers cause 70 percent of all norovirus outbreaks, as food service workers regularly report working while sick because they fear job loss or can’t afford to lose income. “No one should have to risk a paycheck to take care of their health, and no working parent should have to send a sick child to school because they can’t miss even a single day of work,” said lead sponsor Senator Catherine Pugh. “It’s time for us to do right by the hardworking people that keep our state going. This is common-sense policy that will boost families and businesses throughout Maryland.”