Local families are invited to join Pioneer Valley MomsRising on a trip to the Statehouse this Wed., Oct. 7, to call for a new law that would guarantee paid sick days to Massachusetts workers. Supporters of the bill plan to show up in force that day for a 10:30 hearing on the bill held by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.
The committee’s House chair is state Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield), who supports the bill. State Sen. Stephen Buoniconti, who represents Agawam, West Springfield, and parts of Springfield and Chicopee, also sits on the committee.
In an email to supporters, MomsRising quotes a recent editorial in the Stoneham Sun by state Rep. Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), in which he wrote: “One of the best ways to minimize the spread of [flu] virus is for people to stay home from work or school when they get sick. For many of us this is inconvenient but no big deal.
“However, for many other people, staying home from work is a significant financial burden or may not even be an option if they want to keep their jobs. These people have no guaranteed paid sick days. In fact, 47 percent of workers in Massachusetts—1.5 million people—lack the ability to stay home from work to get well, or to care for a sick child or relative without losing a day of pay. So, very often they will drag themselves out of bed and go to work sick or send their child to school sick.
“As a result, illness is more likely to be spread and public health is jeopardized. Many workers who do not have any paid sick days have the most frequent contact with the public, such as food service workers, nursing home attendants, child care workers and retail clerks.”
MomsRising has been pushing the sick-days bill for months, lobbying in Boston and holding a Springfield rally last summer. Parents (and anyone else interested in sound health policy) who want to join them at Wednesday’s hearing can RSVP at MomsRising's website. Kids are welcomed.