Bennet, Hickenlooper Colleagues Introduce Healthy Families Act to Establish National Paid Sick Days Policy

Healthy Families Act Would Ensure Workers Can Earn Paid Sick Days And Help Keep Families, Communities And Our Economy Healthy

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and John Hickenlooper (D) joined 36 of their Senate colleagues to introduce the Healthy Families Act, paid sick days legislation to help keep workers, communities and our economy healthy. The bill is similar to a new Colorado state law expanding paid sick leave to all employees.

Today, one in four workers still do not have access to paid sick days. For these 32 million private sector workers—who are disproportionately women and people of color—getting sick or having to care for a sick loved one means having to choose between losing a paycheck or going into work sick and risking the health of their colleagues and their community. This inequity isn’t just bad for workers—it’s bad for our public health and our economy too, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Recent studies show that requiring employers to provide paid sick days reduces the spread of flu-like illnesses and reduces emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year. Another study showed that the emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 helped slow the spread of COVID-19 by roughly 15,000 cases per day.

“People shouldn't have to choose between the health of their loved ones and putting food on the table,” said Bennet. “The Healthy Families Act will strengthen our economy, help workers keep their job, and keep families healthy. Colorado is already a leader in paid leave. It’s time for Washington to follow.”

“Everyone should be able to take a sick day without losing a paycheck,” said Hickenlooper. “Colorado has already expanded paid sick leave to everyone. Now let’s help workers across the country receive the same benefit.”

The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. This would allow workers to stay home when they are sick or to care for a sick family member—as well as to seek preventive medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act.

The bill text is available HERE.

A list of the 52 national and 15 state organizations that have endorsed the Healthy Families Act is available HERE.