Voters from coast to coast turned out on November 4 to show their support for paid sick days. That’s right: Thanks to voters approving ballot measures in Massachusetts, Oakland, Calif., and two cities in New Jersey – Montclair and Trenton – these jurisdictions can now be added to the list of places that will guarantee workers the basic right to earn paid sick days, bringing the total to 18 nationwide.
When Massachusetts’ law takes effect in July 2015, it will become the third state in the nation to guarantee workers paid sick time. In March 2015, Oakland will become the second city in California to do so. And, also in March, Montclair and Trenton will add to the remarkable momentum seen in the Garden State in recent years, which now has eight paid sick days laws that are or will soon be in effect.
These victories are the result of the dedication of national partners and state and local workers, businesses and advocates, including Raise Up Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition, Lift Up Oakland, New Jersey Time to Care and the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. And they show just how hungry voters are for common sense public policies that address their need for fair and family friendly workplaces.
New polling results released today by the National Partnership for Women & Families and the Rockefeller Family Fund confirm this demand. The survey of 1,200 voters was conducted on election eve and election night by a bipartisan team from Lake Research Partners and The Tarrance Group. It found that 81 percent of voters said it is important for lawmakers to consider new laws such as paid sick days and a family and medical leave insurance system.
The support for these policies also clearly transcends party and demographic lines: 96 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents, 73 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of women, 75 percent of men, 95 percent of voters under 30, 97 percent of African Americans and 95 percent of Latinos said it is important for lawmakers to consider new family friendly workplace laws.
The results of this election and new poll make clear that voters want and need supportive workplace policies like paid sick days. There are still at least 43 million workers in this country who cannot earn a single paid sick day. Newly elected and returning members of Congress should listen to their constituents and prioritize the Healthy Families Act in 2015.