Maryland lawmakers introduce paid sick days bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Two Maryland lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow workers to take sick time without fear of losing their jobs.

Baltimore City Sen. Catherine E. Pugh and Baltimore County Del John A. Olszewski, Jr., both Democrats, introduced the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act.

"This legislation is about working families," Olszewski said in a statement. "A paid sick days standard means thousands of Marylanders aren't choosing between their job, a mortgage payment or taking care of their kids. We shouldn't be forcing people into those impossible choices."

According to a news release from Working Matters, a coalition of more than 100 businesses, faith, labor, women's and advocacy groups, the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act will:

  • Allow Maryland workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to seven full days (56 hours) of paid sick leave per year.
  • Afford employees "safe time" to take paid leave to obtain medical attention, victims services, counseling, relocation or legal services as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
  • Permit employers with existing paid leave standards to maintain those policies as long as they comply with the minimum regulations of the Act

According to the news release, more than 700,000 people in Maryland have to choose between taking an unpaid day off of work or taking care of themselves and/or their family.

"The bottom line is the lack of access to paid sick days is hurting our communities," said Pugh in a statement. "When working moms and dads can't take paid sick days, they can't afford basic necessities and our local economies suffer."

Working Matters reports that Connecticut passed the first statewide paid sick days law in 2001. Since then numerous cities including Jersey City, N.J.; New York City; Portland, Ore.; Seattle, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco have followed suit.

 

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