Dems introduce paid sick leave bills

Federal sick leave legislation reintroduced in the House and Senate on Thursday will require businesses with 15 or more employees to give their workers the ability to earn seven days of paid sick leave a year.

Businesses with fewer than 15 employees would be required to give their employees seven unpaid days.

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills Work on surprise medical bills goes into overdrive MORE (D-Wash.) said she’s agreed to take over for former Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinStop asking parents to sacrifice Social Security benefits for paid family leave The FDA crackdown on dietary supplements is inadequate Wisconsin lawmaker refuses to cut hair until sign-language bill passes MORE (D-Iowa), a previous champion of the Healthy Families Act who retired at the end of his term last year. 

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Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has introduced a companion bill in the House.

“Unfortunately for 43 million workers in our country, catching the flu or having to help a sick family member means losing a day of pay or even sometimes losing your job,” she said. “No one should ever have to chose between their health or a loved one’s health and their economic security.”

Murray went on to call the country’s Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows for unpaid time off for maternity leave or an illness, outdated.

“It is a public health risk,” she said. “Nobody wants a restaurant worker coming in with a cold, and parents of child children should have the flexibility to stay home for the day.”

She said getting the Healthy Families Act passed won’t be easy but she’s heard “no” from the Republican side of the aisle before.

“If they want to explain why they put the profits of corporations ahead of the health and economic security of working families, go right ahead, she said.  

Proponents are referring to the bill as smart policy and smart politics.

“Soon, Philadelphia will become the 17th city to pass paid sick days, part of the swelling national tide to provide working families with much-needed relief,” Ellen Bravo, the executive director of Family Values @ Work, said in a statement. “We will continue fighting to ensure all working families across the country can both provide and care for their families.”