U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined her colleagues, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), to reintroduce bicameral legislation to establish a long-overdue national paid sick day policy. The Healthy Families Act would guarantee workers at businesses with at least 15 employees can earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year. Throughout the pandemic, emergency paid sick leave provisions have — despite their limitations — given an estimated 22 million workers nationwide the ability to stay home when sick, helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by roughly 15,000 cases per day. Paid sick leave provisions also prevent workers from having to choose between their paycheck or their health when they need to stay home to care for themselves or a loved one. Enacting permanent national infrastructure for paid sick leave would strengthen jobs and the workforce, particularly for women and communities of color, and put money back into the economy.
“In the midst of a public health crisis, paid sick leave is more than common sense — it’s smart economic and public health policy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Experts agree paid leave provisions have supported workers and our economy throughout the coronavirus crisis. Now, as we build back better we must ensure paid sick days are permanent. When workers don’t have to choose between caring for their families, or earning a paycheck, they are able to keep their jobs and fully contribute to our economy. Delivering a permanent paid sick day policy by passing the Healthy Families Act will help us build stronger families, a stronger economy, and a stronger nation.”
As the Biden administration is set to soon unveil the American Families Plan, Senator Gillibrand is continuing to push for a comprehensive, national paid leave program that supports American workers and delivers a key solution to the country’s public health and economic challenges. Gillibrand, alongside Senator Murray and Rep. DeLauro, has been a leader in the fight to enact a federal paid leave program during the COVID-19 crisis, and establish a national paid family and medical leave program. Last year, the lawmakers successfully secured the national emergency paid leave program in the FFCRA and successfully pushed for an extension of the program in the American Rescue Plan Act. In an effort to secure a permanent, national paid family and medical leave program, Gillibrand and DeLauro introduced their signature Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act earlier this year.
A list of national and state organizations that have endorsed the Healthy Families Act is available here.
Full text of the legislation can be found here.