Without access to paid leave, few can afford time off to protect health and care for family.
Federal law guarantees only unpaid time off for “serious” health conditions or to care for a new child. Nearly half of all workers don’t even qualify for that minimal protection, and except where local Paid Sick Days laws have passed, most American workers have no right to take time off to see a doctor or recover from routine illnesses like a cold or the flu.
Public health and the health of children and aging parents are all at risk. Moreover, local businesses cannot prosper if working families don’t have the economic security to make basic purchases.
The continuing gender wage gap makes it even harder for women to provide their families with the basics.
To tackle the problem, organizations representing seniors, women, labor, health professionals, children, faith communities, low income workers and employers came together in the Washington Work and Family Coalition. Together, we’re working to ensure our state’s workplace standards to meet the needs of today’s families and businesses.
Our successes include:
2015: Tacoma Paid Sick and Safe Leave (with the Healthy Tacoma coalition) will guarantee all workers in Tacoma can earn at least 3 days of sick and safe leave beginning February 1, 2016.
2011: Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Leave (with the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce) guarantees most people who work in Seattle the right to earn 5 to 9 days of paid sick leave a year.
2007: Washington Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FLI) passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Christine Gregoire. The program, which would provide 5 weeks of paid family leave to new parents, has not been implemented due to the recession. See Our Proposal for the Coalition’s exciting plan to expand and fund Family and Medical Leave Insurance.
2006: The Washington Family and Medical Leave Act protects workers in the event federal law or rules change to limit their access to leave under the existing federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
2002: The Family Care Act updates a 1988 law to allow workers to use most forms of paid leave to care for ill children, spouses, partners, parents, parents-in-law and grandparents.
Washington State Legislature