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Montgomery County Council Votes Unanimously for Earning Paid Sick Days!

We are proud to announce that two of our grantee partners, CASA de Maryland and Jews United for Justice were part of the coalition that helped bring about this law.

A Message from the Community Foundation

We are very pleased to share the news that this week The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to pass legislation ensuring that all private-sector employees in the county can earn paid sick days.

The Jobs Opportunities Task Force (JOTF), one of the major leaders of this advocacy effort, has been a grantee of The Community Foundation through a number of our initiatives over the last four years. Through our Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, we have specifically supported JOTF’s workforce policy and advocacy campaigns in Montgomery and Prince George’s County.

JOTF has also championed recent victories in Maryland around increasing the minimum wage, helping individuals returning from incarceration to access job opportunities, and working to increase Maryland State funding for workforce development training.

This is great news for both Montgomery County and our community more broadly. We are proud to champion workplace policies that support our region’s workers and families to achieve economic security.

Read more from JOTF’s press release:

Montgomery County Passes One of Strongest Paid Sick Days Laws in Nation
Workers to earn up to seven paid sick and safe days per year; will no longer lose income or risk job loss when illness strikes

Rockville, MD — The Montgomery County Council yesterday voted unanimously to pass legislation ensuring that all private-sector employees in the county can earn paid sick days. Bill 60-14 includes some of the strongest paid sick days protections in the country for even very small businesses.

Under the new law, workers in Montgomery County businesses with five or more employees will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours (seven days) annually. Workers in smaller businesses with less than five employees will also earn seven days – four paid plus three unpaid. The time can be used for the diagnosis, care or treatment of the worker or a member of their family or in instances of domestic violence or sexual assault. The law, which also protects employees from retaliation for enforcing their rights under the law, will go into effect on October 1, 2016.

The legislation adds to the growing momentum for paid sick days around the country and is expected to spur passage of a statewide bill next year.

“This policy will improve the lives of working families in our county where more than 100,000 workers currently lack even one paid sick day,” said Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal, who co-sponsored the legislation with Councilmember Nancy Navarro. “More parents will be free from making the heart wrenching choice between taking care of a sick child or losing a day of pay.”

Melissa Broome, acting executive director of the Job Opportunities Task Force, leads Working Matters, a coalition of 140 organizations working to advance paid sick days locally and statewide.  She hailed the vote as “a tremendous win” and praised the Council for their leadership.  “Montgomery County has taken a major step toward ensuring that workplace policies catch up with the realities faced by today’s working families.  No hardworking person should face financial crisis because of something as common as the flu or a child’s ear infection.”

Paid sick time has gained support across the country over the last few years. According to a recent New York Times/CBS poll, more than four in five Americans support a policy guaranteeing workers can earn paid sick days.
To date four states and 20 cities or counties nationwide have enacted such measures either through legislation or voter-driven ballot initiatives, and more wins are on the horizon. A statewide bill made progress in Annapolis in 2015 and will be reintroduced next session.

The measure was supported by a broad group of local labor, faith and community organizations including 32BJ SEIU, Advocates for Children and Youth, CASA, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jews United for Justice, Job Opportunities Task Force, LiUNA! Mid-Atlantic, Maryland Working Families, the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO, MomsRising, the Montgomery County Education Association, National Nurses United, Progressive Maryland, Public Justice Center, SEIU Local 500, UFWC Local 1994 MCGEO, and UFCW Local 400.