In early March as COVID-19 was just beginning to spread in the U.S., we listed the 7 states and 11 cities and counties that give workers access to paid sick time that can be used when their workplace or child’s school or place of care is closed for a public health emergency. Since then, and as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, an increasing number of jurisdictions have enacted emergency paid sick time laws. A Better Balance is tracking these emergency sick time developments nationwide.
Children across the country are headed back to school. Amidst what is an extremely challenging time for parents, and regardless of whether your child will be attending school in person, continuing virtual instruction, a combination, or an uncertain future, you may have questions about your workplace rights. Here are the 10 legal protections you should know about.
On July 14, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, which guarantees workers the right to earn paid sick time. A Better Balance was thrilled to play a pivotal role in the campaign. The victory in Colorado is especially significant given the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis. Paid sick leave has been shown to improve public health, reduce the spread of contagion, and provide a critical safety net to workers who are struggling to make ends meet.
In early April, New York State enacted an emergency paid sick leave law that allows workers with a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation in relation to COVID-19 (or who need to care for a minor child with such an order) to take paid leave from work. Since its passage, the law has exempted workers who were subject to quarantine because they traveled to certain countries for non-work-related reasons from the law’s protections. And recently, the law was changed to exempt certain workers who travel within the United States.
Today, after years of advocacy, Tennessee becomes the 30th state in the country to provide stronger legal protections for pregnant workers. A Better Balance has been proud to lead the fight on the ground in Tennessee to enact the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act over the past six years, working closely with a strong coalition of local and state partners as well as providing drafting and legal support.
On June 15, the Colorado General Assembly passed SB 205, which will guarantee that workers across the state can earn a modest amount of paid sick leave. The bill will allow workers to care for themselves or a family member when sick or experiencing domestic abuse or sexual assault. Colorado joins 12 states, Washington D.C., and dozens of cities in establishing a basic legal right to paid sick time.
Working people in the South have some of the fewest legal protections for their health and economic security in the country. For example, Southern workers are less likely to have access to paid leave than those in other regions. While recent federal legislation provides some workers with critical new rights in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, major gaps remain, and Southern lawmakers must act to fill those gaps.
New York State has passed a crucial law creating a permanent right to paid sick leave for millions of New Yorkers. We applaud Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for their leadership and for recognizing the need to prioritize the health and economic security of all New Yorkers amidst this crisis, and beyond. We are proud to have been a leader in the efforts to pass this law, just as we have been in New York City, Westchester County, and across the country.
If you have to take time off work sick or your workplace closes down, what are your legal rights? If your child’s school is closed, can you stay home? We're updating this page with all the information you need to know about ongoing action and your existing legal rights around paid sick time and paid family and medical leave.
A Better Balance applauds Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for swiftly reaching an agreement on a bill that will ensure millions of working families in New York are provided job protection and economic security amidst the COVID-19 public health crisis, and beyond. In this time of crisis, the new law will help New Yorkers to follow New York State’s and the CDC’s recommendations to protect their own health and the health of their loved ones, while also protecting the health of the public as a whole.