The Need for Paid Sick Leave
It comes as a shock to many Americans, who take for granted that they can stay home from work when they are sick, that 40 to 44 million of their fellow workers don’t have a single paid sick day.
In fact, 38 percent of private sector U.S. employees have no paid sick time according to government statistics. Even fewer workers can take time off if their child or another family member is sick.
The good news is that organizations and individuals around the country who care about workers and their families, who care about public health and who believe in basic employment rights are working to change this.
There is growing momentum throughout the United States for laws guaranteeing that workers can earn a minimum amount of paid sick time.
A growing number of paid sick time laws have been passed in cities and states around the country! Click here to view our overview of the paid sick time laws that are in effect (or have been passed into law) as of September 15, 2016, and see below for more background information on all paid sick time legislative successes:
- 2006 -- San Francisco Voters Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2008 -- Washington, D.C. Approves Paid Sick Days
- 2008 -- Milwaukee Voters Overwhelmingly Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2011 -- Connecticut Becomes First State to Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2011 -- Seattle City Council Passes Paid Sick Days with Mayoral Support
- 2012 -- Long Beach (California) Passes Paid Sick Days for Hotel Workers
- 2013 -- Portland, Oregon City Council Unanimously Passes Paid Sick Days with Mayoral Support
- 2013 -- City Council of Jersey City, NJ Passes Paid Sick Days with Mayoral Support
- 2013 – Voters in Seatac, Washington Vote for Paid Sick Days
- 2014 -- Municipal Council of Newark, NJ Unanimously Passes Paid Sick Days with Mayoral Support
- 2014 -- New York City Council Strengthens and Expands Its Paid Sick Days Law with Mayoral Support
- 2014 -- Voters in Orange County, Florida Overwhelmingly Vote for Paid Sick Days, Sending a Strong Message
- 2014 -- California Becomes the Second State in the Country to Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2014 -- Six Additional Cities in New Jersey (Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, Irvington, Trenton & Montclair) Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2014 -- Voters in Oakland (California) Pass Paid Sick Days By a Huge Margin
- 2014 -- Massachusetts Becomes the Third State in the Country to Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2015 -- Tacoma (Washington) Passes Paid Sick Days
- 2015 -- Philadelphia Council Passes Paid Sick Days with Mayoral Support
- 2015 -- Bloomfield Becomes the Ninth City in NJ to Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2015 -- Emeryville (California) Passes a Paid Sick Days Law
- 2015 -- Oregon Becomes the Fourth State to Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2015 -- Montgomery County (Maryland) Unanimously Passes a Paid Sick Days Law
- 2015 -- Pittsburgh Passes a Paid Sick Days Law
- 2015 -- Elizabeth and New Brunswick become the 10th and 11th New Jersey Cities to Pass Paid Sick Days and Jersey City Expands its Law
- 2016 -- Spokane (Washington) Passes a Paid Sick Days Law
- 2016 -- Vermont Becomes the Fifth State in the Country to Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2016 -- Plainfield and Morristown Become the 12th and 13th New Jersey Cities to Pass Paid Sick Days
- 2016 -- Santa Monica Passes a paid sick days law
- 2016 -- Minneapolis Passes a Paid Sick Days Law
- 2016 -- Los Angeles Passes a Paid Sick Days Law with a Model Family Definition
- 2016 -- San Diego Voters Overwhelmingly Approve a Paid Sick Days Law
- 2016 -- Chicago Unanimously Passes a Paid Sick Days Law
- 2016 -- Berkeley (CA) Unanimously Passes a Paid Sick Days Law
- 2016 -- Saint Paul (MN) Unanimously Passes a Paid Sick Days Law
Federal Paid Sick Time
The Healthy Families Act (S. 497 / H.R. 932) has been reintroduced in the House and Senate. The bill would guarantee workers the right to earn up to 7 paid sick days a year to address their own health needs or to care for a sick family member.
Kin Care Laws
Among private sector workers who do have access to paid sick time, only 30% can use that time to care for a sick child. Nine states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to address this problem, allowing workers who have paid sick time to use that time to care for a sick family member. Click here to learn more about kin care laws around the country.
The movement for paid sick time is growing. Local campaigns are sprouting up around the country and A Better Balance is providing legal advice and support. Find out what’s happening in your community:
Tools and Resources for Paid Sick Time Campaigns
A Better Balance has developed helpful tools and information to assist your paid sick days campaign. Click here for more.
For more information check out the National Partnership for Women and Families and Family Values at Work.