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In a flurry of budget amendment votes in the U.S. Senate last week – unofficially referred to as “vote-a-rama” – those of us who advocate for paid sick days and other family friendly workplace policies witnessed an encouraging and unprecedented sign of progress.
On Thursday, Healthy Families Act champion Senator Patty Murray introduced Amendment 798, a nonbinding amendment in support of paid sick days. And it passed. Sixty-one senators voted in favor of it – 44 Democrats, 15 Republicans and two independents.
The amendment is symbolic, to be sure, and the reason some senators voted “yes” is the subject of much speculation. But its passage suggests that paid sick days have acquired new status on Capitol Hill. Here are five reasons the vote was a significant step in the right direction:
In short, last week’s budget amendment vote was promising. But there is more work to do. Many senators who voted “yes” are not yet co-sponsors of the Healthy Families Act. It’s time for all members of Congress who claim to support this bill to demonstrate in real terms where they stand on paid sick days by co-sponsoring and ultimately passing the Healthy Families Act. America’s workers and families – all of us – are counting on it.
* Paid sick days laws are or will soon be in place in 21 jurisdictions across the country. Three states: Connecticut (enacted 2011, effective 2012), California (enacted 2014, effective 2015) and Massachusetts (enacted 2014, effective 2015). And 18 cities: San Francisco (enacted 2006, effective 2007) and Oakland (enacted 2014, effective 2015), Calif.; Washington, D.C. (enacted and effective 2008 and expanded 2014); Seattle (enacted 2011, effective 2012) and Tacoma (enacted 2015, effective 2016), Wash.; Portland (enacted 2013, effective 2014) and Eugene (enacted 2014, effective 2015), Ore.; New York City (enacted 2013, expanded and effective 2014); Bloomfield (enacted and effective 2015), East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, Paterson, Passaic and Trenton, N.J. (all enacted in 2013 and 2014, effective in 2014 or 2015); and Philadelphia, Pa. (enacted and effective 2015).
In a flurry of budget amendment votes in the U.S. Senate last week, those of us who advocate for paid sick days and other family friendly workplace policies witnessed an encouraging and unprecedented sign of progress. The vote was promising, but there is more work to do.