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Congresswoman Wants A Federal Paid Sick Leave Bill

by Hugh McQuaid | Sep 24, 2013 3:42pm
(8) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Jobs, Labor

Hugh McQuaid Photo

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro

Describing Connecticut as a leader in progressive workplace ideals, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro called Tuesday for the state’s first-in-the-nation paid sick leave law to be adopted at the federal level.

The legislature passed a statewide policy in 2011, mandating that some employers offer paid time off for sick days. The business community lobbied heavily against the legislation and in order to win passage, the bill was narrowly written to apply only to businesses with more than 50 workers and excluding manufacturers and YMCAs.

Although the cities of San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have similar policies, more than two years after its passage, Connecticut is still the only state to have adopted the law.

DeLauro, a Democrat representing the state’s 3rd Congressional District, held a press conference Tuesday in Hamden to outline her agenda aimed at improving the economic status of women and families. Many of the components of her agenda are policies that have been enacted here in Connecticut, including the paid sick leave law.

“We should be justifiably proud of the critical role our state plays in forming and leading the nation on pro-family policies. In our federal system, our states in fact serve as laboratories for sound policy making and the good policies that start at that level trickle upward,” she said, standing with advocates in a noisy shopping center parking lot.

DeLauro said Connecticut led the way in 1987, when it passed the first Family Medical Leave Act, seeking to prevent workers from being fired for taking unpaid emergency leave. The law became the model for the national Family Medical Leave Act, which DeLauro said has been used 100 million times since it was adopted by the federal government.

She said she wants to see that FMLA expanded to cover more workers and to also incorporate a paid sick leave mandate like the one approved on the state level.

“We need to make sure that workers have access to paid leave . . . paid sick days so they can take care of their families,” she said. “Eighty-six percent of Americans support paid sick days.”

However, the concept seems unlikely to be embraced by the majority in Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. It was a difficult sell for lawmakers here in Connecticut where Democrats control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office. The bill cleared the state House in a tight 76-65 vote with 16 Democrats joining a Republican minority to oppose it.

The legislation was contested by business advocates who viewed it as a symbol of state’s unfriendliness to businesses and an incentive for employers to keep their payroll numbers down to avoid falling under its mandate.

Since the law took effect in January 2012, some businesses affected by the policy have been reluctant to hire new employees or expand, Eric Gjede, assistant counsel for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association said Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s panned out very well here in Connecticut,” he said. “. . . Not one other single state has adopted it on their own because I think they recognize this is not something that helps businesses.”

Gjede said he believes the policy has contributed to the state’s slow rebound from the economic downturn and predicts a federal version would stymie growth on the national level.

DeLauro dismisses the concerns and points to other, now commonly accepted workplace mandates.

“You can go back to minimum wage, you can go back to Social Security, you can go back to Medicare. There’s always a group of people that said this kind of legislation is . . . unwarranted or it’s going collapse our economy,” she said.

Hugh McQuaid Photo During the press conference, Christine Palm, communications director for the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, spoke of recent personal and family emergency situations which have required her to take time off from work. She said she was lucky to work for the state of Connecticut.

“If it weren’t for our paid sick leave policy, I don’t know, somebody or something would have suffered mightily this summer,” she said.

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(8) Comments

posted by: JamesBronsdon | September 24, 2013  4:05pm

Yes, by all means. Let’s make the same “progress” nationally that we have made here in Connecticut. Who gives a darn about jobs and the economy. Social justice for all.

posted by: Stan Muzyk | September 24, 2013  4:57pm

“Another nail in the coffin” for remaining business in Connecticut from a lawmaker who stays in office by being the friend of the social benefits voter, along with our other Democratic congressmen helpers in Washington. Rosa DeLauto shows that our massive $59.6 trillion dollar debt, and growng daily—qualifies her to spend more money on our maxed out credit card. Rosa DeLauto is fortunate that she does not have to meet a business payroll in Connecticut.  Along with Gov. Dannel Malloy—“she is no friend of business in the former home of the Yankee trader.”

posted by: ALD | September 24, 2013  5:28pm

I have an idea why don’t we just all contact Congresswoman Delauro and demand that instead dismantling our job market one small step at a time she fulfills the ultimate progressive dream of her Democratic party now, and pass federal legislation that none of us ever has to work again? 

Think of the benefits!!  Just a few are:  No need to worry about the unemployment rate any more.  No need to ever again worry about losing your job for any reason.  No need to go into debt forever by putting your kids through college. No need to add to global warming each day by driving back and forth to work and getting hung up in rush hour traffic jams!!!!!!  The benefits are endless!!!! 

The biggest benefit of all might actually be that then after solving all those other problems there will be nothing more for Congresswoman DeLauro to accomplish, and she can then promptly retire after a long and distinguished career.

posted by: art vandelay | September 24, 2013  5:45pm

art vandelay

This bill will go nowhere.  Rest assured Rosa Delauro’s impeccable record of not passing one piece of legislation introduced by her in her illustrious 22 year career will be intact.  Rosa Delauro is is a Socialist Marxist hellbent on destroying the principles for which this nation was founded.  22 years is enough.  It’s time for a strong Conservative in the 3rd who will vote to overturn Obamacare.

posted by: Dr. Anthony | September 24, 2013  5:46pm

Nothing but more Marxist rubbish from this useless fool.

posted by: dano860 | September 24, 2013  8:02pm

Rosa, how about we force employers to pay a 5 day bonus for perfect attendance? If we are such a “leader in progressive workplace ideals” why aren’t the business leaders crushing our borders trying to get in?
How about working to get Ct to become the first northeast state to become a RTW state. That would stand a better chance of passing than getting the other 49 states to come down to our level.
We need to listen to business leaders and their representatives, like CBIA.
When you read that the bill barely passed in the Democrat controlled state of Ct you have to believe that such a bill has little chance of passing. I believe it only made it through the Ct Legislature because of Don Williams strong arming his own Democrat members. Threats to chop funding for your pet project has a way of getting your vote.

posted by: justsayin | September 25, 2013  8:56am

Who votes for the person? Great statistic, 86% support paid time off, DUH!

posted by: dano860 | September 26, 2013  2:17pm

Vote her out or not, she has been enjoying a nice paycheck and health insurance plan for far to long. The sad part is that she will continue to have both of them for the rest of her life even if we retire her.
Retiring her would still be the cheapest way out, she can do far less harm out of office.