06 July 2011

Paid Sick Days gets Inked

On Friday July 1st, while everyone was driving or stuck in traffic, Connecticut officially became the first state in the Union to enact Paid Sick Days legislation. 

Governor Malloy signed it into Law the day after this was posted online:

New Report Quantifies Paid Sick Days’ Value to Working Families
Published on June 30, 2011 by Vicki Shabo, Director of Work and Family Programs, National Partnership for Women and Families

For working families today, paid sick days can mean the difference between staying afloat and being unable to afford basic expenses like food and transportation – and this lifeline comes at minimal or no cost to businesses. This is the theme of a report released yesterday at a briefing co-hosted by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the National Partnership.   [...]

EPI’s new report, authored by Gould, paints a stark picture of what it means when a working parent’s job offers no paid sick days. In the best case, the worker takes time off without pay. For the average family without paid sick days, if one parent misses three-and-a-half days of work in a month, it loses the equivalent of the family’s entire grocery budget. Missing five days of work reduces the same family’s income to 84 percent of the amount needed to get by.
Even worse, taking an unsanctioned sick day means job loss. At a time when nearly half of all unemployed Americans have been looking for new work for six months or more, this is a cost that struggling families can’t afford to bear.     [...]

An EPI report released in March [...] showed that Connecticut businesses – many of which, beginning in January 2012, will be required to provide paid sick time to certain workers under America’s first statewide paid sick days law – will bear minimal costs as a percentage of sales (fewer than one-half of one percent).

I will be attending a conference next week in Washington DC, as a guest of the Working Families Party, to learn more about how legislation such as ours can be rolled out nationwide.

For now, I am very proud of the solid work done by Jon Green, Lindsay Farrell, and Joe Dinkin of the Connecticut Working Families Party. They were intelligent advocates, great organizers, and able to use humor and street theater to make serious points about the issue.

Thank you all and thank you to our legislators who voted this through the Connecticut House and State Senate.

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