March 15, 2017

Van Hollen, Murray Introduce Healthy Families Act to Allow Workers to Earn Paid Sick Days

Today U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and 28 Senate Democrats introduced the Healthy Families Act. The legislation would allow workers to earn paid sick leave to use when they are sick, to care for a loved one, to obtain preventive care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.

"Right now more than 40 million private sector workers don't have access to paid sick days - including 750,000 hard-working employees in Maryland. This is a question of both basic decency and economic security. No one in our nation should have to choose between going to a doctor and keeping a job. Maryland's state lawmakers are working right now to resolve this issue, but we need to take federal action for all Americans without delay," said Senator Van Hollen.

The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act.

Studies show that paid sick leave can reduce the spread of contagious diseases like the flu, and a national paid sick day policy would reduce emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year.

Original cosponsors include U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Jeffery A. Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Charles Schumer (D-NY).