In a joint press conference between Democratic members of the state Senate and House last week discussed new legislation that would provide for additional sick leave for Michigan workers.

The legislation, announced by Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint), along with Reps. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), would allow for paid time off of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The effort was backed by research from the Michigan League for Public Policy, which revealed that nearly 44 percent of Michigan workers cannot take time off for illness.

“For the many Michigan residents who cannot afford to lose a day’s wages, earned sick leave provides the opportunity to get better without jeopardizing their jobs,” Ananich said.

The bills, at present, would require three things: the sick leave hour gain –which would apply to part-time and full-time employees alike– as well as stipulation of when those accrued hours could be used and the protection of all Michigan families without bias.

“The reality for far too many hard-working Michiganders is that they are faced with the maddening decision of either going to work sick or staying home with a sick child or family member, or risk losing their job, and no one should have to make that choice,” Chang said. “Allowing all workers to earn paid sick leave means that an employer will have healthy workers who are not infecting restaurant customers or bringing their sick child to daycare.”

The Michigan League for Public Policy has determined that only five state–plus Washington, D.C.–currently have sick leave laws. Connecticut was the first, but California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont have all followed suit.

“Having earned paid sick leave shouldn’t be about luck, especially when it comes to your health, the health of your loved ones and your economic security,” Geiss said. “Allowing full- and part-time workers to earn paid sick leave makes family sense, public health sense and economic sense.”

Democrats’ efforts are part of a national push for a week of action, organized under #FightingForFamilies, to advocate legislation providing economic security to the middle class and families.

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