Advocates, faith leaders, and impacted workers make impassioned appeal to Governor to allow earned paid sick days to become law
May 3, 2017
BALTIMORE – With just 24 days left for Governor Hogan to make a decision on the Healthy Working Families Act, the Working Matters Coalition for Earned Sick Days held a press conference today urging Governor Hogan to sign the bill that would allow nearly 700,000 Marylanders to earn sick leave. The Healthy Working Families Act was presented to Governor Hogan on April 27th, starting the 30-day window during which the governor must sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without his signature.
Highlights from today’s press conference:
“Over 750,000 Marylanders are being forced to make impossible choices between their job and their family for one simple reason: they are not able to earn paid sick days,” said Liz Richards, Director of the Working Matters Coalition. “Governor Hogan has the power to change the lives of working families for the better with his signature. We urge him to sign HB1 without delay.”
“I call on the Governor from the bottom of my heart to sign House Bill 1,” said Delegate Luke Clippinger, the lead legislative sponsor of the bill. “It’s a bill that nearly 700,000 Marylanders have been waiting years for him to sign…This is the time.”
Paul Brown, a Baltimore security officer, offered why House Bill 1 is so important to him. “I’ve worked as a security officer in Baltimore for over 10 years. I had to ignore my body’s advance warnings that a heart attack was in my future,” said Brown. “That’s because I can’t afford to miss a day’s pay to take time off, even when I feel very ill.”
Ruth Martin, a Silver Spring mom and the National Director of Workplace Equality Policies & Campaigns for MomsRising, called on Governor Hogan to give Maryland moms an early Mother’s Day present and sign HB1: “Governor Hogan, just days before Mother’s Day we hope you will make Maryland moms proud too, and sign HB1 or let it become law. Moms across this state will tell you that five years is long enough to wait and no parent should have to choose between caring for a sick child and a much-needed paycheck.”
Betty Weller, President of the Maryland State Education Association reiterated the call. “I’m here today representing more than 73,000 educators in our public schools as President of the Maryland State Education Association. And I can tell you emphatically that our public schoolteachers and education support professionals want earned sick leave for every working Marylander…We know that we can do better by Maryland’s working families and by our kids. Governor Hogan, please sign this commonsense, widely supported bill into law.”
Pastor Amy Sens of Six:Eight United Church of Christ in Baltimore also spoke, noting that for many of the people she meets through her ministry, access to earned paid sick days could have prevented them from falling into homelessness. “I am a Christian and a member of the clergy, and it does not surprise me at all that 300 clergy from across the state also signed the letter in support of this legislation…Governor Hogan, here is an opportunity to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Earned sick leave is one way that we can do that by recognizing that…for some people, one day without pay isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s a disaster.”
As passed, HB1 would protect Maryland families without any sick time by allowing an estimated 488,000 Marylanders working at businesses with 15 or more employees to earn paid sick days, and another 205,000 at smaller businesses with less than 15 employees to earn unpaid sick days with job protection.
The Working Matters coalition is a group of 160 faith, labor, health, small business and community organizations that have fought for five years to bring earned paid sick days to the State of Maryland. Currently over 750,000 Marylanders do not have access to a single paid sick day, forcing them to make impossible choices between their work and the health of their family.