In Prince George’s County, the less money you make, the greater likelihood that you won’t be able to stay home to care for yourself or your sick child. Forty-eight percent of workers making less than $35,000 a year get this benefit, but 85 percent of those making $65,000 or more a year do, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In total, 43 percent of private-sector workers in Prince George’s do not have access to paid sick leave. We should never have to choose between our health and safety and our paycheck, but more than 131,000 Prince George’s workers face this awful choice.
This bill, which would put our workers’ health and family first, was assigned by the county council chair to what supporters view as a controversial committee. Should it pass, employees would earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of seven days a year.
Three years ago, Connecticut became the first state to require many employers to allow workers to earn sick leave. The law was limited in whom it included, but a study done a year and a half after it went into effect showed that the employers generally liked it, few workers abused it and it had improved morale and reduced the spread of illness.
It’s time for Prince George’s to join Montgomery County, the District and the 145 countries that have earned sick leave by passing this bill without further delay.
Jolene Ivey, Cheverly
The writer, a former chair of the Prince George’s County House delegation, was a co-sponsor of the bill.