Paid Sick Days Conference
National Partnership for Women and Families and Family Values @ Work brought organizations from around the country together this week to have a National Summit on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave campaigns. Paid family and medical leave policies provide workers with a portion of their wages while they are away from work to address serious health conditions, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or care for a newborn, newly-adopted or newly-placed foster child, and protect the worker from retaliation for using paid leave. A diverse array of organizations including UFCW, 9to5, Jobs with Justice, ROC, and many others gathered in DC to discuss how to organize and grow their local campaigns around Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave. There was a panel around best practices and lessons from current paid sick days campaigns in New York, Florida, Oregon and Massachusetts. Campaigns around the country are using many different models to achieve paid leave policies. In Orange County a coalition is putting an initiative on the ballot, while other places like Philadelphia and Washington State are moving bills in local and state legislatures. Some places, like Minnesota and North Carolina, are building momentum for a campaign by doing education around the benefits of paid sick days and paid family leave for workers and employers.
Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave laws policies secure financial stability and good health for working families. Many places have won Paid Sick Days policies, including San Francisco, Washington, DC, Seattle and Connecticut. California and New Jersey are the only two states in the country that have their own statewide paid family leave programs. There are Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs in four states that provide paid medical leave for worker’s own serious health conditions. TDI programs existed in California and New Jersey before they had paid sick days and paid family leave. This is a good prospect for those states that are pushing for paid sick days and paid family leave.
Jobs with Justice local coalitions are playing key roles in the movement to win Paid Sick Days and Paid Family leave. DC JwJ was part of the historic fight in Washington, DC that established a Paid Sick and Safe Days policy in 2008 – the first policy to include leave to address domestic violence. Currently Central Florida JwJ, Philadelphia JwJ and Massachusetts JwJ are helping to lead local fights.