On April 7, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an emergency ordinance that will require private employers with 500 or more employees to provide public health emergency leave during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were proud to work with Supervisor Gordon Mar and partners in California, including Jobs with Justice San Francisco and Legal Aid at Work, on this important measure, and we congratulate them on the ordinance’s successful passage. Once the Mayor signs the bill, as expected, it will take effect.
This year was a momentous one for paid sick time legislation, as a whopping seven new jurisdictions passed laws guaranteeing workers the right to earn paid sick time to care for themselves and their family members when ill, injured, or in need of preventive care. A Better Balance worked with partners across the country on all of these measures that will improve the lives of millions of workers.
Legislative wins in Maryland, Michigan, and New Jersey brought the total number of states to pass paid sick time laws to eleven, while Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Duluth, Minnesota; and Westchester County, New York joined the dozens of localities with paid sick time laws on the books.
These seven new laws will give millions of workers in various parts of the country the right to earn paid sick time. Almost all of them will allow workers to use earned sick time for “safe time” purposes to address needs related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In New Jersey, parents can use their time to attend school meetings. Most of these laws will also allow workers to use earned sick time to care for chosen and extended family members, and not only those with whom they have a biological or legal relationship.
This year also saw updates to existing paid sick leave legislation. As of May 5, workers in New York City can now use earned sick time for safe time purposes, as well as to care for chosen and extended family members.
More detailed information about all of these laws can be found on A Better Balance’s new Interactive Overview of Paid Sick Time Laws in the United States.
We congratulate our partners around the country who worked tirelessly to pass these laws. A Better Balance is proud to have supported their efforts by providing legal research, assistance with bill drafting, legislative testimony, and other forms of legal support.
We look forward to building on this remarkable momentum in the next year and expect more states and localities to follow suit in 2019 to ensure that all workers can take care of their own health and the health of their loved ones.
We will continue to support campaigns around the country to improve the health and financial security of the millions of low-wage workers who still lack access to even a single paid sick day.