Paid Leave

Category archives for Paid Leave

After nearly a decade of hoping state legislators would pass an earned paid sick time law, advocates in Massachusetts decided it was time to put the question to voters. Now, in November, voters will have the chance to help improve the lives of nearly 1 million workers who can’t earn one, single hour of sick leave and are often left to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one, paying the bills or losing a job.

Last week’s White House Summit on Working Families served both as a pitch to employers to adopt more family-friendly policies, and as a push for policies that require all employers to evolve for 21st-century realities.

Despite the brunches, flower sales, and media attention lavished on moms each Mother’s Day, US policy doesn’t express as much appreciation for mothers (or fathers) as it should.

Occupational Health News Roundup

President Obama highlights the ways inadequate paid-leave and wage policies affect women workers; a California bill would hold companies liable for violations by the temporary labor firms they contract with; and OSHA proposes $2.3 million in fines against a company that exposed workers to asbestos and lead hazards.

After having delivered prime-time telecasts from the Olympic Games since 1988, NBC’s Bob Costas had to step aside due to a pink eye infection. For millions of US workers, missing work due to illness can mean losing pay or even being fired — which makes it hard for them to stay home and spare their co-workers from disease exposure. Several states are considering legislation to assure workers can earn paid sick leave.

In last night’s State of the Union speech, President Obama addressed several ways to “make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.” Legislation already introduced in Congress would raise the minimum wage, expand access to paid sick days, and create a social insurance system for paid medical and family leave — but Congress hasn’t voted on the bills. In the absence of federal action, state and local governments are stepping up.

New legislation from Senator Gillibrand and Representative DeLauro would establish a national insurance system that would replace a portion of workers’ wages while they take time off to deal with a serious health issue or care for a family member.

At the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Boston this week, the organization officially approved 17 policy statements, including one calling for the US to improve access to paid sick and family leave and one urging OSHA to require workplace injury and illness prevention programs.

Nearly 150 witnesses signed up to testify at a DC Council hearing on expanding access to paid sick leave and raising the minimum wage.

Although Philadelphia’s City Council fell one vote short of overriding a veto of the city’s paid sick leave bill, paid sick leave efforts are gaining steam nationwide.