LANSING — Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) and state Reps. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), and Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) announced at a press conference today that they are introducing legislation in the House and Senate that would allow workers to take earned paid time off to recover from an illness or care for a sick family member. The legislators were joined at the press conference by Detroit mother Christina Hayes who spoke of her experience. The bills, sponsored by Sen. Ananich and Rep. Chang, would require employers to allow workers to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work.
“For the many Michigan residents who cannot afford to lose a day’s wages, earned sick leave provides the opportunity to get better without jeopardizing their jobs.” Sen. Ananich said. “We know that happy and healthy employees are more productive in the workplace — when workers can stay home to get better, everyone wins.”
“The reality for far too many hard-working Michiganders is that they are faced with the maddening decision of either going to work sick or staying home with a sick child or family member, or risk losing their job, and no one should have to make that choice,” said Chang. “Allowing all workers to earn paid sick leave means that an employer will have healthy workers who are not infecting restaurant customers or bringing their sick child to daycare. This is common-sense legislation that will help families, women and our public health throughout Michigan.”
According to a 2016 analysis done by the Michigan League for Public Policy, more than 1.7 million Michigan workers — about 44 percent — cannot take time of if they or a family member are ill.
The same bill is being introduced in the House and Senate and 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.
- Stipulate when a worker could use this earned time off, including during their own illness, the illness of a close family member or recovery after a violent crime.
- Protect all Michigan families, including LGBT families, grandparents raising children, domestic partners raising children and single-parent families.
“I’m a mother of two children, and my family is lucky because when my daughter was seriously ill last spring, thanks to the policies of my husband’s employer, he could stay home with her while I was in Lansing in session. We didn’t have to worry about him losing his job or money from his paycheck, or the well-being of our child,” said Geiss. “But having earned paid sick leave, shouldn’t be about luck, especially when it comes to your health, the health of your loved ones and your economic security. Allowing full- and part-time workers to earn paid sick leave makes family sense, public health sense and economic sense.”
“Being able to earn paid sick leave is important to workers like me and our families, and when we fight together, we win together,” said Ms. Hayes.
According to MLPP, five states and Washington, D.C., have sick leave laws. Connecticut became the first state to enact a sick leave law. California and Massachusetts enacted sick leave laws in 2015. Oregon’s law took effect in 2016, and Vermont’s law took effect in January of this year.
By introducing this legislation this week, the legislators join colleagues from more than 30 states in a national effort — the #FightingForFamilies Week of Action — to advance legislation that grows the middle class and provides families with economic security.