Congressman Brendan Boyle Celebrates 22 Year Anniversary of FMLA By Continuing to Fight for Paid Sick Days
Washington, DC- Today, Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA-13) marked the 22 year Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by praising the accomplishments of the law. It was August 5, 1993 when the FMLA was signed into law, and since then the law has helped families across the country more than 200 million times. Thanks to the protections provided under the FMLA, hard-working Americans are able to take time away from their jobs to address serious health conditions, welcome a new child, or care for a seriously ill loved one – without fear of losing their jobs or health insurance coverage.
“The Family and Medical Leave Act has been a godsend over the past two decades, but there is still more work to be done to provide security to families and strengthen the middle class,” said Congressman Boyle. “Currently, hard-working Pennsylvanians are not guaranteed the right to earn paid sick days under state law. Pennsylvania families need the security of paid sick days to protect their financial stability. Paid sick days, in turn, will also strengthen our state economy by maintaining a healthy workforce.”
The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 932/S. 497), which Congressman Boyle proudly cosponsors, would establish a national paid sick days standard, allowing workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job-protected paid sick days each year to be used to recover from their own illnesses, access preventive care, provide care to a sick family member, attend school meetings related to a child’s health condition or disability or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. Workers in businesses with fewer than 15 employees would earn up to seven job-protected unpaid sick days each year to be used for the same reasons, unless their employers choose to offer paid sick days.
According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, paid sick days keep families healthy. When workers have paid sick days, they are able to get regular physicals and take their children to well-child visits and for immunizations, which can prevent serious illnesses. Moreover, children with serious illnesses fare better when their parents are able to stay with them.
Businesses also benefit from employee paid sick days. A 2012 report by the Center for American Progress estimated that on average 1/5 of an employee’s annual salary goes to health care costs. Paid sick days would result in reduced turnover, which in turn would lead to reduced hiring and training costs for businesses.
Paid sick days also decrease unnecessary health care costs. According to 2011 findings by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, universal access to paid sick days would eliminate an estimated 1.3 million emergency room visits each year, saving $1.1 billion annually in costs to individuals, private insurers and public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.