The Job Opportunities Task Force, along with partners from the Working Matters coalition, recently launched a campaign to give Maryland workers access to paid sick days. New data suggests that more than 700,000 employees in our state cannot earn paid leave under existing company policies, leaving them vulnerable to wage or job loss when they or a family member becomes sick.
The forum and campaign launch, hosted Nov. 14 at Westminster Hall in Baltimore, featured more than a dozen speakers who espoused the importance of paid sick days to nearly 100 workers’ rights advocates, nonprofit leaders and policy experts. Speakers included workers, public health officials, educators, parents, our legislative partner Del. John A. Olszweksi, Jr. and nationally-renowned workers’ rights expert Ellen Bravo.
Bravo, who directs the Family Values @ Work Consortium, opened the forum by debunking myths that all employers already arrange sick leave for their workers and explaining that there is urgent need for access to sick leave, especially for low-income workers who are most likely to lack the protection of paid sick leave. Eighty percent of low-wage workers cannot earn sick leave and women-dominated professions tend to have the least access to sick days, despite the fact that women are often primary caregivers at home.
A number of attendees pledged to join the campaign for paid sick days as the Working Matters coalition continues to grow. For more information about this event, the Working Matters coalition or the Campaign for Paid Sick Days, contact Melissa Broome at 410-234-8046.