Murray launches new push for paid leave

Murray launches new push for paid leave
© Greg Nash

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Senate panel to hold hearing on US coronavirus response | Dems demand Trump withdraw religious provider rule | Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan backlash Democratic senators urge Trump administration to request emergency funding for coronavirus response Democrats demand Trump administration withdraw religious provider rule MORE (D-Wash.) said she’s pushing Republicans to include paid sick leave in a final budget deal.

A total of 61 senators, including 15 Republicans, supported the measure in an amendment to the Senate Republican budget adopted in late March, but Murray pointed out that budget votes are nonbinding.

The next step, she said, is to pass an actual law.

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Murray made the announcement during a call with reporters hosted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The organization convened a coalition that sent a letter with 180 signatures to Congress on Thursday urging lawmakers to pass the Healthy Families Act.

“This is not going to happen overnight, but with your help we’re going to continue to build support in Congress and we’re going to get this done for millions of Americans across the country,” Murray said.

The Healthy Families Act, which Murray and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced in February, would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days a year, which they could use to care for family members or address personal medical needs.

Out of 185 countries and territories in the world surveyed by the International Labor Organization, the United States is one of only two that does not offer paid maternity leave; Papua New Guinea is the other.

President Obama signed an executive memorandum in January in an effort to push lawmakers to bring the U.S. in line with the rest of the world. The order gave federal employees access to six weeks of paid parental leave by allowing them to advance their sick time.

"Paid sick days laws are or will soon be in place in 21 places across the country and 81 percent of voters say they want lawmakers to consider new laws like paid sick days,” the National Partnership for Women & Families said in a statement. “It is past time for action at the federal level.”