The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Advocates Push for Paid Sick Days
Feature Story by Robert Schwartz - 3/4/2008
Relief may soon be coming to thousands of employees who have been forced to go to work sick because they lack paid sick days from their employers.
Following Congress's successful bipartisan work to pass a $168 million stimulus package in early February, support for the Healthy Families Act has begun to grow in both the Senate and the House. The Act, which was introduced in the House in April of 2005 by Rep. Rosa Delauro, D. Conn., would guarantee workers seven paid sick days a year to recover from their own illness or to care for a sick family member.
The bill already has 80 cosponsors in the House, as well as a Senate sponsor in Sen. Edward Kennedy, D. Mass. Sen. Kennedy has been able to get 24 cosponsors in the Senate, including both Democratic presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Advocates say that passing this legislation could not be more timely. Experts say that the nation could be headed toward a recession and nearly half (48 percent) of all American private sector workers currently do not have a single sick day, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. This is causing many workers to decide between not feeding their families and going to work sick, risking spreading their illnesses to co-workers.
"It is essential that American workers are afforded the ability and opportunity to take care of themselves and their families without fear of losing their jobs or a week's pay," says Wade Henderson, president and CEO of LCCR.
On Friday, February 29, the National Partnership launched its first-ever online rally for paid sick days. The online rally, at everyonegetssick.org, is designed to resemble an actual rally taking place on Capitol Hill. Once on the website, people can listen to video of rally speakers, as well as see and hear testimonials from workers across the country.
Visitors to the site can post their own personal stories and photos, demonstrating the importance of passing this bill, as well as get involved in lobbying Congress to support the Act.
"Our goal is to inform the public about paid sick days," says Tucker Ball, director of online marketing for the National Partnership. According to National Partnership President Debra L. Ness, informing the public about the importance of paid sick days is critical because "Right now, no federal or state law ensures that workers will have the paid sick days they need."
Currently, the status of the Healthy Families Act in Congress remains to be seen. However, according to Jocelyn Frye, general counsel for the National Partnership, the next step is to continue to gather support for the bill and encourage the House and Senate to hold a hearing on it.