7 days, 7 ways to help 700,000 Marylanders
It’s been five years since the first bill to allow Marylanders to earn paid sick days was introduced in the Maryland legislature; forty-six days since the Healthy Working Families Act was finally passed by the Maryland General Assembly; and now there are seven days left before Governor Hogan must make his decision on the bill that would make meaningful difference in the lives of over 700,000 hardworking Marylanders.
The Governor has three options: to sign HB1, veto the bill, or allow it to become law without his signature. “Over the next 7 days, Working Matters will release 7 important ways that earned paid sick days would benefit hardworking Maryland families,” said Liz Richards, Director of the Working Matters Coalition. “We implore Governor Hogan to do the right thing for Maryland families and let the Healthy Working Families Act become law.”
Day 1: HB1 provides greater economic security to 700,000 Marylanders making impossible choices between their job and family
Everyone gets sick, but in State of Maryland, not everyone has the time to get better. The Healthy Working Families Act (HB1) would allow over 700,000 Marylanders without any earned sick leave the ability to take time off work to care for their families when illness strikes. The result of five years of compromise and careful deliberation with stakeholders at all levels, HB1 would allow 488,000 Marylanders working at businesses with 15 employees or more to earn paid sick days, and allow another 216,000 working at businesses with less than 15 employees to earn unpaid sick time with job protection.
That kind of security would make a big difference for many Marylanders struggling to make ends meet. It’s estimated that half of Marylanders working full time who earn less than $35,000 a year are not able to earn paid sick days. For Marylanders like Vika, a Bowie resident and active member of MomsRising, missing a day’s wages when illness strikes can leave a significant hole in a household budget. “Paid sick leave matters for me and my family,” said Vika. “The choice of missing work and sending my daughter to school is absolutely nerve wrecking. The loss of $150 a day has an immediate impact on household finances.” In fact, studies show that for a typical family without earned paid sick days, just three and a half days without pay means losing an entire month’s grocery budget.
But for many Marylanders, getting sick doesn’t just mean the threat of losing a day’s pay; it could mean losing your job. That was the case for Raquel Rojas of Baltimore, MD, who came down with pneumonia while working at a restaurant chain. Without earned paid sick days, Raquel took unpaid time off to recover, only to find out when she returned to work that she had been fired. Unfortunately, without the job protection provided by the Healthy Working Families Act, Marylanders like Raquel would have no recourse. The National Partnership for Women and Families notes that nearly one in four adults report having lost a job or being told they would lose a job for taking time off due to illness or to care for a sick family member.
The status quo is no solution at all. At a time when working Marylanders like Vika and Raquel are working harder than ever just to get by, Governor Hogan now has an opportunity to make life just a little easier for those families. The Healthy Working Families Act makes a meaningful difference for those who need help the most. It’s time for Governor Hogan to sign HB1.
Follow updates at www.earnedsickdaysmd.org and stay tuned for Hogan Watch Day 2 tomorrow.
#7days7ways #HoganWatch #SignHB1