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More women than ever have entered the workforce (thanks in large part to expanded access to birth control, which has allowed women to pursue their education and careers) — but workplace leave policies haven’t kept up with this progress. That’s why Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, which would help ensure working women and families can take paid sick leave.

So, we have a big THANK YOU to make: We’re so grateful to Senator Murray and Representative DeLauro for reintroducing this bill, and for their continued leadership for women and families!

Why Women Need Sick Leave

What does paid sick leave have to do with women’s health and rights? A lot:

  • Women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households with children. That’s a lot of families who depend on women’s jobs.
  • 70 percent of low-wage workers receive no paid sick days and often must go to work sick in industries that could endanger public health, such as food service.
  • 23 percent of all adults in the United States have lost or were threatened with losing their job for taking time off due to illness or to care for a sick child/relative.

“It is unacceptable that for 43 million of our nation’s workers, catching the flu or needing to care for a sick family member means losing a day of pay, or even losing a job,” Senator Murray said in a statement.

As Representative DeLauro put it: “Everyone should be able to take care of themselves and their families when they are sick without having to worry about losing their jobs.” In other words, workplace protections are needed to help women and families succeed.

About the Bill

Here are just three of the many good things that the Healthy Families Act would do, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families:

  • Allow workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job-protected paid sick days each year. Workers for smaller businesses would earn up to seven job-protected unpaid sick days each year unless their employers choose to offer paid sick days.
  • Allow workers who are victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault to use their paid sick days to recover or seek assistance related to an incident.
  • Allow employees to use sick days for several reasons: to recover from their own illnesses, access preventive care, provide care to a sick family member, or attend school meetings related to a child’s health condition or disability.

Tags: Congress, Paid Sick Leave

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