LANSING—Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) joined with Michigan legislators today to discuss their collective efforts to fight for women and working families in Michigan. These policies include initiatives at the state and federal level to pass paid sick day legislation, establish pay equity laws and curb the skyrocketing costs of child care.
“Outdated workplace policies are impacting many working families and keeping them from getting ahead. Today, 43 million people do not have a single day of paid sick leave, forcing them to make the impossible choice between caring for themselves or a sick child and losing a paycheck – or losing a job,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “This is unacceptable, and we are working in Washington and in Lansing to bring our workplace policies into the 21st century. Because when women and families succeed, America succeeds.”
Dingell has co-sponsored federal legislation to establish paid sick leave policy. H.R. 932, the Healthy Families Act would allow workers in businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to seven days of job-protected paid sick leave each year to care for themselves or a family member. People working in a business with fewer than 15 employees would be able to earn up to seven job-protected days of unpaid sick leave annually. In the Michigan Legislature, Senate Bill 101 and House Bill 4167 would require employers to set aside one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works regardless of whether an employee is part-time or full-time. Recent polling has shown that 86% of Michigan voters support paid sick days regardless of party affiliation.
“Once again we are talking about issues that matter to regular people,” said Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint), sponsor of paid sick leave legislation in the Senate. “Economic stability is a concern for many families in Michigan and legislation like paid sick leave and the child care tax credit will help ease those financial tensions.”
Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-Lansing) also discussed his legislation, Senate Bill 198, to allow eligible families to receive a tax credit of up to 80% of the amount they pay annually in daycare costs. The credit will adjust based on income. Michigan parents pay an average of $9,724 a year for full-time, center-based infant care—roughly one-fifth the state median household income of $48,273.
“Today I introduced legislation that will give Michigan parents some much-needed financial relief on child care costs,” said Senator Hertel, Jr. “This is an economic priority for Michigan because working families are spending nearly 20% of their annual income on child care. This legislation will ensure our young kids receive the care they need and working families can get the support they need at an affordable price.”
“Working mothers absolutely need support through legislation like the child care tax credit and paid sick leave,” said Pamela Moore, Lansing resident and mother of two. “As a single mother, I had to take off work whenever one of my children wasn’t feeling well and had to adjust my finances. I struggled with it then and I know other working parents, single mothers and fathers are struggling with it now. Paid sick leave and child care tax credits are important policies that could make a huge difference for Michigan workers trying to make ends meet.”
At today’s event, Congresswoman Dingell and state elected officials also discussed the need to pass laws to address pay equity for women. As of 2014, women in Michigan are paid 74 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly wage gap of $13,125 between men and women who work full time in the state. Legislative Democrats will again be introducing a package of bills to address pay equity, including legislation to prohibit employers from providing unequal compensation for comparable work based on gender and require employers to provide wage information upon employees’ requests.
“Economic issues are essential to the well-being of Michigan women and their families,” Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) said. “When a woman is paid less than a man who does the same work, or when a woman isn’t able to take a paid sick day to care for a child, the whole family suffers. Democrats are committed to fighting for policies that will bring economic security to every Michigan woman and her family.”