Over 97,000 workers in Montgomery County were not guaranteed earned time off when they or family members are sick … until October 1st, 2016.
Colds and other illnesses are likely to spread when sick workers depend on their daily income. As a result, a lot of people go to work anyway, send an ill child to school/daycare or stay home and sacrifice much-needed income or worse, risk job-loss. Workers facing abuse or other domestic issues also need safe time off to protect themselves without losing pay. Now, they have it.
How We Did It:
The Working Matters coalition (made up of 140 organizations, including us) advocated for state-wide legislation, starting in 2011. We supported this legislation by ensuring our Montgomery County state legislative delegation signs on and champions paid sick days legislation, which is officially called Bill 60-14 Earned Sick and Safe Leave. In the fall, our county will have set an effective example for the state.
This was a challenging campaign, which garnered a lot of energy and support from our community, which (along with the work of our allies) fueled our Paid Sick Days victory. As of May 2015, 41% of workers in Montgomery County lack access to paid sick days. In October 2016, that percentage will be 0%.
During most of March and April 2015, community members joined our Paid Sick Days for Maryland Call-In Friday. These concentrated Friday calls to different state officials flooded their offices and built up needed support for paid sick days. Many of our JUFJ leaders also travelled to Annapolis to support this legislation. Check out this video of JUFJer Fran Rothstein testifying her support for this bill.
While the state ended up putting our legislation in a drawer, we didn’t wait around. Instead, we strengthened the actions of our mobilized community by concentrating our efforts in Montgomery County.
On Sunday, June 7th, we teamed up with Moms Rising to host simultaneous Paid Sick Days Play Days in Chevy Chase and Gaithersberg. It was a fun afternoon of family-friendly activities: with the award winning story, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, arts and crafts, healthy treats, and a simple, powerful action families can take together: a coloring page to councilmembers asking them to pass paid sick days.
Parents added a message to their children’s drawing and many of the kids took sticker duty very seriously. Check out our Facebook album.
Just two short weeks after our Play Day, councilmembers recieved the coloring page and acted quickly. Paid Sick Days legislation was discussed, debated, and voted on in quick succession.
And New Jersey’s Paid Sick Days campaign came up with a great list: 10 Things That Could Happen to You if You Didn’t Have Paid Sick Days.