Women’s Equality Coalition Denounces Conservative Members of House Committee For Defeating Bill To Provide Paid Sick Leave to Hardworking Virginians
Richmond, Virginia—On Thursday afternoon, House Commerce and Labor Subcommittee #1 defeated HB973, Delegate Guzman’s bill that would have allowed hardworking Virginians to take time off when they get sick without having to worry about how they will make up for the lost income and still manage to pay their bills on time. The Women’s Equality Coalition is extremely disappointed that members of the committee refuse to take action to help hardworking Virginians.
Everyone gets sick, but not everyone can afford to take time off work to recover from illness or care for a sick child. Without paid sick days, families are faced with the impossible choice between jeopardizing public health or risking their family’s economic security. Businesses benefit when their employees have access to paid sick days because when sick employees are able to stay home, the spread of disease slows and workplaces are both healthier and more productive. Plus, workers recover faster from illness and obtain timely medical care –enabling them to get back to work sooner and holding down health care costs.
“We have long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees and are dismayed that the subcommittee voted against HB973. In voting against this bill, the Committee on Commerce and Labor has demonstrated that it is not interested in either commerce or labor, or families, for that matter,” Sandy Lawrence, Co-President of the American Association of University Women of Virginia, said. “With a lack of paid time off, workers come to work when they or family members are sick; or stay home, not get paid, and often jeopardize their jobs and their family’s well-being.”
41.4% of Virginia workers, or 1,171,183 employees don’t have paid sick days. Currently, there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave, but companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are required to provide unpaid sick leave. The Women’s Equality Coalition, a statewide coalition made up of 14 member organizations dedicated to ensuring that all Virginia women are able to fully participate in social, economic, and political life.