CHN: Healthy Families Act Introduced
Representative DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kennedy (D-MA) introduced the Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1542, S 910) on March 15. Under the provisions of the bill most employers with 15 or more employees must provide a minimum of 7 days of paid sick leave for those who work at least 30 hours per week, and a prorated amount for those who work at least 20 but less than 30 hours. The leave can be used by workers to care for their own and their families’ medical needs.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, 48 percent of full-time, private sector workers have no paid sick days and 79 percent of low-wage workers have no paid sick days. Lack of sick days is particularly acute for working women who are still predominately responsible for meeting family caregiving needs and must miss work without pay when a child or elderly parent is sick.
Lack of paid sick leave has health ramifications when sick children are sent to school with a contagious illness and sick workers continue to work. The latter phenomenon, called presenteeism, by one estimate costs our national economy $180 billion annually in lost productivity.
A hearing on the bill was held in the Senate in February. Bill sponsors hope to schedule a hearing in the House soon. For more information see the National Partnership for Women and Families website: http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/PageServer?pagename=psd_index.