Momentum and support for paid sick days policies in this country are growing like never before. Just last month, Connecticut passed the nation’s first statewide paid sick days bill, which was signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy July 1, and the Philadelphia City Council took a stand despite mayoral opposition by passing a paid sick days measure.
With the energy and activity around state and local paid sick days campaigns providing an exciting backdrop, the National Partnership and our ally Family Values @ Work brought together 220 advocates, policy experts, workers and business leaders from 23 states and Washington, D.C., for the 2011 National Summit on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave. The Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on July 11, included stimulating strategic discussions about the past, present and future of efforts to secure paid sick days and paid family leave for America’s workers.
From the opening plenary panel on the economic realities facing today’s workforce to a range of small group workshops, the Summit provided advocates, workers and businesses multiple opportunities to discuss new research, share creative ideas and best practices and make their voices heard. The lively discussions and exchange of ideas among such a diverse group of supporters and advocates inspired all of us to redouble our efforts.
On the day of action that followed the Summit, participants shared their stories and enthusiasm with their members of Congress. In total, nearly 100 congressional offices heard about the need for the Healthy Families Act and the state paid leave fund proposed by President Obama. Congressional action on these policies would show working families that policymakers understand the conflicts they face every day trying to manage the dual demands of work and family.
Now that everyone is back home, we’re looking forward to seeing the great energy and momentum we felt in D.C. continue. In Seattle, where support is growing for an innovative paid sick days bill created through a partnership of advocates and business leaders, we could see progress by the end of the summer. In Denver, voters will cast their ballots on a popular paid sick days standard in November. And in Massachusetts, New York City, Philadelphia and elsewhere, promising activity continues.
With more victories on the horizon, fewer workers will have to choose between their health and their economic security. All of the advocates, policy experts, workers and business leaders who attended the Summit – along with the hundreds who couldn’t make it – are committed to ensuring that, very soon, no worker will have to make these impossible choices. With their energy and dedication, forward-thinking businesses and savvy policymakers in support, there is no doubt we’ll get there.
To get the latest news on paid sick days efforts throughout the country and new research and resources on the importance of this basic labor standard, visit PaidSickDays.org. For more information on paid family leave, check out our paid leave research library.
View photos from the Summit here.