Paid sick leave seems to be gaining traction in some parts of the United States, but it continues to face a lot of resistance.
The list of states and cities requiring employers to provide paid sick days has grown in the last 10 years. However, a large percentage of the U.S. workforce still has no access to this benefit. Thirty-nine percent of private-sector workers have no paid sick days, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On Wednesday, the National Partnership for Women and Families released fact sheets detailing the state and municipal laws. Four states, 18 localities and Washington, D.C. mandate paid sick leave. In contrast, 10 other states passed laws prohibiting counties and cities from passing their own paid sick leave bills, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Our nations failure to establish a paid sick days standard is harming people across the country, said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families. It is absolutely unacceptable that so many hardworking people risk grave financial hardship if they or a family member get the flu, strep throat or another common illness, and that is because they cannot earn basic paid sick days, even after years at their jobs.
Businesses groups and other opponents of paid sick leave laws argue that these provisions hurt companies finances and job growth. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce opposed a paid sick leave proposal in the Maryland House of Delegates earlier this year. In an official position statement on its website, the chamber said the bill would create a lot of costly intended and unintended consequences for businesses. It also said the bill did not do enough to prevent fraud and abuse of paid sick leave policies. The bill did not come up for a vote this year.
In July, Montgomery County, Md., a jurisdiction of about 1 million people adjacent to Washington, D.C., passed a law allowing workers to earn up to seven days of paid sick and safe leave per year. The leave can be used when an employee or an employees immediate family member suffers from an illness, injury or domestic violence. The law will take effect Oct. 1.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said, I am confident that before long, many other jurisdictions will join us, as we have joined the others in making life better for the working people of our county through this legislation.
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