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Momentum Builds for Policies that Value Families At Work

November 2, 2011

In October, communities from coast to coast worked hard to advance policies like paid sick days that value families at work.  Each of our state campaigns with diverse organizations—from public health and organized labor to immigrants’ rights organizations and advocates against domestic violence—are mobilizing support for these common-sense policies.  With too many families struggling in this uncertain economy, Americans are increasingly supportive of these modest reforms that help families when they need it most.  Momentum is building across the country.

November will be a busy month for coalitions with legislative hearings, new research and local community demonstrations planned.

The Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition is preparing for a day of action at the State House in support of an act establishing paid sick days, (S00930, H01398).  Public health advocates will speak with legislators about the benefits of paid sick days, not only for the workers who earn them, but for everyone who eats at restaurants, rides public transportation or and relies on health and child care – all industries where most workers are without paid sick days.  Governor Deval Patrick has voiced his support for the bill, and the Massachusetts Secretary of Labor called paid sick days a “basic right.”

The California Work and Family Coalition is celebrating a victory for pregnant and new mothers after the recent passage of SB 299, a law which makes it illegal for employers to kick women off their health care plans when they are on leave.

This bill adds strength to the state’s family leave insurance law, which has allowed countless women and men take time off when they or their family members are ill.  On November 16, coalition supporters will discuss these policies at a legislative briefing in Sacramento.  At this time, economists Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman will release new research on the broad impact of California’s paid family leave policy and a field poll addressing the public’s growing awareness and support.

In New York City, paid sick days have inspired grassroots activism.  A group of local families recently organized a rally in Brooklyn where they educated their neighbors about the benefits of paid sick days and circulated a petition in support of the legislation to send to City Hall.  The coming months promise to hold more events like the Brooklyn rally, where neighbors in Queens and Manhattan will build and build support around paid sick days.  You can support the coalition by signing the petition.

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