June 29th is Implementation Day, a day for celebrating paid family and medical leave and paid sick time victories across the nation, and for taking stock of the work that remains. Today, we celebrate the anniversaries of paid leave policies taking effect in many cities and states across the country — from Arizona, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, to Los Angeles (CA), Cook County (IL), and St. Paul (MN) and beyond. Over the last 15 years, we have been leaders in the fight to advance paid leave for all workers caring for themselves and their loved ones by passing paid sick time and paid family and medical leave laws across the country, as well as a range of policies to ensure working individuals can care for their loved ones without sacrificing their economic security. In light of the pandemic, we have been urgently working this past year with states and localities to enact both permanent and emergency paid sick time measures that address COVID-19 and future public health emergencies.
Thanks to our efforts alongside partners, policymakers and advocates over the years, over 53 million private-sector workers are now covered by sick time laws. Most recently, Massachusetts enacted an emergency COVID-19 sick time measure with our help, joining dozens of states and localities that have provided workers with emergency sick leave in response to the pandemic. And in a major victory this spring, New Mexico became the fourteenth state in the U.S. to guarantee workers a right to paid sick time by passing a strong new law based on our model bill. Additionally, nine states and Washington D.C. have passed into law–with our legal and policy support–programs to provide pay to workers taking time off to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, or recover from one’s own serious health condition, with other states still lining up to pass their own paid family and medical leave plans.
We’re proud to have provided ongoing support, advice and analysis for advocates on the ground in these cities and states around the country, and as we continue to pass paid leave policies nationwide, we are also working with policymakers and government agencies to see that these laws are implemented smoothly and equitably. In Colorado, following two landmark paid leave victories last year, our office in the State is working closely with partners to ensure that strong regulations are issued, workers understand their new legal rights, businesses comply with their responsibilities, and the State implements and enforces these new paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave protections. We are also providing similar support to partners in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon, and continuing to work across New York and in dozens of other states and cities to guarantee that the laws we help to draft and pass are working as intended and protecting those who need paid leave the most.
As our country’s economy reopens, we also recognize the critical role of paid leave in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and in ensuring that as we build back better, we prioritize policies that help workers remain healthy and care for themselves and their loved ones in times of need. In encouraging recent news, President Biden made history by proposing a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program with an inclusive family definition as part of his American Families Plan, and we’re continuing to work in D.C. to make this proposal a nationwide reality. Additionally, the Healthy Families Act, which would create a national right to paid sick leave for workers to care for themselves or for a loved one, was introduced in Congress this Spring.
We are hopeful to see great strides on the paid leave front nationwide. This Implementation Day, as we celebrate past victories, we remain committed to urging lawmakers to take action on critical pieces of federal and state legislation without delay, and to fighting for paid leave policies that cover all workers and their families.