CT Legislator Introduces Paid Sick Leave Bill

May 19, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Connecticut) has introduced the Healthy Families Act, which would provide paid sick days to nearly all American workers.

According to a DeLauro press release, under the Healthy Families Act workers can earn up to 56 hours (seven days) of paid sick time – earning one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers can use this time to stay home when they are ill, to care for a sick family member, to obtain preventative or diagnostic treatment, or to seek help if they are victims of domestic violence.

In addition:

  • Small employers with fewer than 15 employees are exempt from the act;
  • Employers that already provide this leave will not have to change their current policies at all, as long as their existing leave can be used for the same purposes described in the act; and
  • Employers can require workers to provide documentation supporting any request for leave longer than three consecutive days.

The announcement said Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate later in the week.

Coinciding with Representative DeLauro's introduction of the Healthy Families Act, a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, "Contagion Nation: A Comparison of Paid Sick Day Policies in 22 Countries," was also released. According to a CEPR press release, its study found that the United States is the only country among 22 countries ranked highly in terms of economic and human development that does not guarantee that workers receive paid sick days or paid sick leave.

To compare the various national policies, the report authors calculated employer- or government- provided financial support available to workers facing a bout of flu requiring that they miss five days of work or a cancer treatment requiring that they miss fifty days of work. The press release said the authors found that the United States is the only country in the study that does not provide paid sick leave for a worker undergoing a fifty-day cancer treatment and that only three countries - the United States, Canada and Japan - have no national policy requiring employers to provide sick days for workers who need to miss five days of work to recover from the flu.

"Paid sick days and paid sick leave are critical to the ability of working Americans when they or their family members are sick and to prevent the spread of influenza and other infectious diseases," the CEPR said.

The report can be downloaded from here .