WASHINGTON — Sen. Patty Murray on Thursday reintroduced a Democratic bill that would require employers to provide up to seven days of paid sick time annually.
Murray cosponsored the “Healthy Families Act” with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, a leading liberal in Congress who has introduced the bill six times since 2004.
Estimated 43 million American workers get no paid sick time. For those people, Murray said, getting the flu can cost their paychecks and sometimes even their jobs.
Murray and DeLauro spoke at a news conference at the Capitol crowded with representatives from family, labor and religious groups as well as employers.
Nearly 40 percent of private-sector employees lacked sick pay in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Workers who can least afford to miss work are also the least likely to have sick benefits; only 1 of 5 workers in the bottom 10 percent on the wage scale have such benefits.
The Murray-DeLauro bill would enable workers with firms with 15 or more employees to earn one hour of sick time off for every 30 hours worked, for a maximum of 56 hours a year. Employees could use the time for themselves or to take care of certain family members.
Those provisions are in some cases more generous than Seattle’s sick-pay ordinance that went into effect September 2012. Employers located in Seattle who have between 4 and 49 workers, for instance, are required to provide one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to five days a year.