Gov. Dannel Malloy released the following statement:
At 3:00 AM, the Connecticut House of Representatives gave final passage to the paid sick days bill, with a vote of 76-65. The bill, the first statewide paid sick days legislation in the nation, would guarantee hundreds of thousands of service workers the ability to earn paid sick days to care for their own health or the health of a family member. When workers in restaurants, day care and senior care are compelled to come to work sick, advocates say, it creates a real public health risk for all of us.
"For Connecticut residents who believe in common sense and common decency, today is a proud day," said Jon Green, Executive Director of Connecticut Working Families. "Especially in difficult times, no one should have to choose between their job and their health, or between being a good employee and a good parent. Because of the determination and hard work of the House of Representatives after a nearly 12 hour debate, hundreds of thousands of hard working families know they have elected leaders with the courage to do what's right."
Governor Malloy has pledged to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
"Working without paid sick days nearly cost me my life," said Cheryl Folston, from Newington, who worked as a livery service driver and did not get paid sick leave at her job. Cheryl was unable to take time off from work to see a doctor, despite a persistent chest pain. When she was laid off, she learned she had a serious heart tumor, and had she waited any longer, it could have killed her.
"I am overwhelmed with gratitude today that Connecticut recognizes that even low wage workers like me deserve the dignity and the safety of being able to see the doctor or take a day off to recover from illness. No one should have to go through what I did," said Folston, who stayed at the Capitol into the early morning to watch the vote.
Advocates for family-friendly policies around the nation were watching Connecticut tonight. "We applaud Connecticut state legislators for standing on the side of workers, families and the economy," said Ellen Bravo, Executive Director of Family Values @ Work, a national consortium of state organizations working for paid sick days and paid family leave policies. "Coalitions of working families are fighting for paid sick days legislation across the country so that taking care of yourself or a loved one will not cost anyone a paycheck or a job."
San Francisco enacted the nation's first paid sick leave policy in 2007. According to a recent in depth survey, two thirds of employers in San Francisco now support the city's policy. A recent study by the global accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers named San Francisco the world's third best city for business and innovation.
"San Francisco is known as having more progressive social policies like paid sick leave, but it really held its own as a business center that attracts entrepreneurs," said Merrill Pond, the architect of the report, in an interview in the Atlantic Monthly.
"Contrary to the claims of some opponents, San Francisco's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance hasn't damaged the city's reputation as a global hub for business and a destination for entrepreneurship," said Jon Green, Executive Director of Connecticut Working Families.
...and a GREAT round of thanks goes out to Rep. Zeke Zalaski for enduring 11 hours of answering ridiculous inquiries from the House Republicans.
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