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Bernie Sanders Attempts To Push A To Enable Paid Sick Leave On A Federal Level

Family and Medical Leave Act doesn't obligate companies to pay for medical sick leave as it is not federally required.
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In California, employers are required by law to provide paid sick leave for one to three days off.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) expressed disappointment that millions of workers in the U.S. were forced to make a difficult choice between their jobs and taking care of themselves or their families when they are sick.

A person holds a sign as US Senator and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), not pictured, speaks during a news conference with labor leaders to make an announcement on the federal minimum wage, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2023. JIM WATSON/BENZINGA

Sanders, in a tweet, highlighted the introduction of legislation that guarantees paid sick leave for workers across the U.S.

States other than California that require paid sick leave include Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state, and Washington, D.C.

Currently, there are no federal requirements for guaranteed paid sick leave as companies are subjected to the Family and Medical Leave Act, a law that does not require paid sick leave.

He tweeted, “It is a disgrace that millions of workers have to choose between their job and caring for their family or themselves when they are sick and in need of care. It is time Congress passed legislation to ensure workers receive the basic dignity and benefits that they deserve.”

On Wednesday, Sanders introduced legislation that aims to guarantee paid sick leave for workers across the U.S. and put an end to the country’s streak as the only wealthy nation without protections ensuring workers can take time off when they are sick.

“When you are facing the grief and pain of caring for a seriously ill child, sitting in the hospital with a seriously ill parent, or coping with a cancer diagnosis,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who is co-sponsoring the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Murray reintroduced the Healthy Families Act and the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act that enact the paid sick leave under federal law.

Under the legislation, workers would have the opportunity to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave annually. The accrual system would allow them to accumulate a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, totaling a maximum of 56 hours of leave per year. These allotted days could be utilized for personal illness or to attend medical appointments and care for sick family members, including children.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Sanders said that it was high time for Congress to “begin listening to the needs of working families, struggling people, and not just big money interests.”

The U.S. is the only wealthy nation without a guaranteed paid sick leave policy, according to a report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Currently, reportedly, 34 million workers — including 25% of the workforce in the private sector and 9% in the public sector — do not have any paid sick time at all.

Produced in association with Benzinga

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