As state legislatures across the country wrap up their deliberative sessions it’s a good time to review what they accomplished on behalf of working families and small businesses. From Minnesota to Hawaii, states considered and passed minimum wage increases. States also looked at providing seniors with a more secure retirement and low-income workers with the safety of paid leave for illness or family care. These policies represent our vision for the economy, one that is pro-worker and pro-business and makes our workplaces healthier, drives more customers to local businesses, secures a future of prosperity for workers of all ages, and grows our country’s economy.
Millions of Americans go to work sick every year because they cannot afford to take the time off necessary to get healthy. Millions more risk their financial stability to care for a sick child or partner because they don’t have access to paid time off for family leave. Paid leave for workers is not just an issue of economic security for America’s working class, but also a public health concern as waiters and service workers are forced to expose the public to sickness because they can’t afford to take time off.
Last year, the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) came under fire for their support of voter suppression and "shoot first" laws. In response, ALEC claimed they would "redouble their efforts on the economic front" this year. But, in fact, ALEC has long focused on policies that weaken wage standards and otherwise endanger working families — and a new report released this week by the National Employment Law Project (with research support from PSN) shows just how. At the same time, efforts to combat the ALEC economic agenda advanced in states including Maryland and Washington as polls and research continue to show that policies like raising the minimum wage, paid family leave, and paid sick days are popular and good for the economy:
With Census Bureau statistics released this week showing inequality rising and median household income declining to the lowest level in 16 years, Progressive States Network joined more than 20 of America’s leading organizations on work and the economy today in releasing a plan outlining 10 specific ways to rebuild America’s middle class. The new report recommends concrete proposals to strengthen the economy for the long-term by creating good jobs and addressing the economic insecurity that has spread to millions of U.S. families.
Progressive States Network Board Member and former Maine Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree was a guest on MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes on Sunday May 13, 2012 (Mother's Day) discussing how state and federal policy affects moms — with her mom, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME).
This policy guide presents a series of state strategies to advance
workers rights that have
strong public support and present good opportunities to reframe the
debates over workers’ rights and the economy as values issues,
including: Paid Sick Days, Wage Law Enforcement, and Restoring the
86% of the public favors legislation that would mandate seven paid sick days per year for all employers, according to study sponsored by the Public Welfare Fund in collaboration with the National Partnership of Women and Families. Even when the public is asked about mandating nine paid sick days per year, 71% still support the proposed legislation. The study found that paid sick days legislation enjoys deep public support across all demographics and political leanings, including large majorities of Republicans as well as Democrats.
Building on successful wins in approving paid sick days law at the city level in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., an increasing number of states have introduced paid sick days bills to make sure parents are not forced to choose between their job and staying home to take care of themselves or a sick loved one. Seventeen states in 2010 have introduced paid sick days