Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dodd annouces 'emergency legislation' for sick families

Special to The Register Citizen
Workers who come down with swine flu — or whose children do — would get up to seven paid sick days if a bill introduced Tuesday by U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd becomes law.
Dodd announced the "emergency legislation" during a Capitol Hill hearing on H1N1.
"Families shouldn’t have to choose between staying healthy and making ends meet," said Dodd, D-Conn. "But if staying home means you don’t get paid, that’s an impossibility, especially for families struggling to make ends meet."
He said paid sick leave has been an issue of fairness, but now it’s a public health issue, too.
In his opening statement at the hearing, Dodd said, "Troublingly, more than three-quarters of food service and hotel workers do not have paid sick days. Child care, retail and nursing home workers are also less likely to have paid sick days.
"Some 80,000 school cafeteria workers cannot stay home when they are sick, and they come to work to serve approximately 10 million schoolchildren each day. This is simply dangerous."
Dodd said only 22 percent of low-income workers receive paid sick days, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Workers could use their sick time if they were ill or to care for a sick child or a child whose school or child-care center has been closed because of flu.
At least 10 schools have closed in Connecticut because of flu, including Guilford High School and East Haven Academy.
The size of businesses falling under the legislation has not been finalized, according to Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAnglelis, but it would be part of the pending Healthy Families Act. That bill would require businesses with 15 or more employees to give workers seven paid sick days per year, according to Connecticut Working Families. The bill would go into effect 15 days after being signed into law, and it would expire after two years.
Peter Gioia, vice president of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, called Dodd’s bill a "mandated one-size-fits-all" approach.
"What we’ve been telling companies is, if someone’s sick, they probably shouldn’t come in. ... It’s not a bad idea for employee retention to pay them."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home