Luján Co-Sponsors Healthy Families Act to Establish National Paid Sick Days Policy

Healthy Families Act would ensure workers can earn paid sick days and help keep families, communities and our economy healthy

1 in 4 private sector workers—or 32 million people—still lack paid sick days

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) joined Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, in reintroducing the Healthy Families Act, paid sick days legislation to help keep workers, communities and our economy healthy.

Today, one in four workers still do not have access to paid sick days. For these 32 million private sector workers—who are disproportionately women and people of color—getting sick or having to care for a sick loved one means having to choose between losing a paycheck or going into work sick and risking the health of their colleagues and their community. This inequity isn’t just bad for workers—it’s bad for our public health and our economy too, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Recent studies show that requiring employers to provide paid sick days reduces the spread of flu-like illnesses and reduces emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year. Another study showed that the emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 helped slow the spread of COVID-19 by roughly 15,000 cases per day.

The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. This would allow workers to stay home when they are sick, attend school meetings related to a child’s health condition or disability or to care for a sick family member—as well as to seek preventive medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act.

“This past year battling COVID-19 has highlighted the need for a federal paid leave policy,” said Senator Luján. “Hardworking Americans deserve time to care for themselves and their loved ones, and they should not be forced to choose between their health and a paycheck. Congress should step in to guarantee that workers are able to take paid leave, and that’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation to give New Mexicans time to prioritize their own health and the health of their communities.”

A list of the 52 national and 15 state organizations that have endorsed the Healthy Families Act is available here.

Bill text is available here.

In addition to Senator Luján, the Healthy Families Act was cosponsored in the Senate by 36 Senators: Senators Schumer (D-NY), Schatz (D-HI), Duckworth (D-IL), Hassan (D-NH), Murphy (D-CT), Brown (D-OH), Booker (D-NJ), Cardin (D-MD), Smith (D-MN), Reed (D-RI), Warren (D-MA), Cantwell (D-WA), Van Hollen (D-MD), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Wyden (D-OR), Kaine (D-VA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Menendez (D-NJ), Baldwin (D-WI), Gillibrand (D-NY), Peters (D-MI), Hickenlooper (D-CO), King (I-ME), Sanders (I-VT), Markey (D-MA), Bennet (D-CO), Casey (D-PA), Padilla (D-CA), Durbin (D-IL), Leahy (D-VT), Hirono (D-HI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Coons (D-DE), Merkley (D-OR), and Rosen (D-NV).



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