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Maryland Paid Sick Days Law Takes Effect February 11

A team of five Local 400 members played a pivotal role in winning passage of the Healthy Working Families Act in Maryland.

In a resounding victory for Maryland’s working families, the House of Delegates and Senate voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the Healthy Working Families Act, making it the law of the state.

As a result, workers at Maryland employers with 15 or more employees will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to five full days per year. Workers will begin accruing sick leave on Sunday, February 11, once the new law takes effect 30 days after the veto override vote.

“This is a huge win for Local 400 and all Maryland working families,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “No one should have to choose between a paycheck and their health or the well-being of a family member. Thanks to every state senator and delegate who voted to override the governor’s misguided veto, paid leave is now a right in Maryland.

“Local 400 members and activists—including five who lobbied full-time—deserve the lion’s share of credit for this great advance in workers’ rights, along with our allies in the Working Matters coalition.” Federici said.  “This shows the power of collective action to make a profound difference in the lives of hardworking Marylanders.”

The House voted to override the veto by an 88-52 margin on January 11th and the Senate voted 30-17 the following day. The Healthy Working Families Act had been passed by the General Assembly in the 2017 legislative session, but Hogan vetoed the bill after the legislative session ended last year. The override votes were among the very first acts of the 2018 legislative session.

In addition to guaranteeing paid time and providing greater income stability for Maryland workers, the new law will:

  • Enable the thousands of working Marylanders who are underemployed and piecing together part-time jobs to receive earned sick days.
  • Allow victims of domestic violence or abuse to earn “safe time” in order to obtain medical attention, victims services, counseling, relocation or legal services that will keep their families safe.
  • Support healthy workplace policies for Maryland businesses and enable employers with existing earned sick leave standards to maintain those policies as long as they comply with the minimum regulations of the law.

This advance follows Local 400’s success in winning paid leave laws in Montgomery County, Md., and the District of Columbia.

The Next Battle: $15 Minimum Wage

The next big battle for Local 400, the Maryland labor movement and our community allies is to pass a $15/hour statewide minimum wage bill in this current legislative session. As with paid leave, Montgomery County and Washington, D.C. have passed $15/hour minimum wage laws, and the goal is to extend this needed rise in living standards to all Marylanders.

“We’ve seen in recent negotiations how higher minimum wage laws have helped us gain contracts with needed pay increases,” Federici said. “Putting the entire state of Maryland on a path to a $15/hour minimum wage will further increase our power at the bargaining table in future negotiations.

“In a high-cost state like Maryland, an hourly wage below $15 just isn’t good enough,” he added. “Anyone who works full-time should be able to earn a living you can raise a family on. That’s why I urge our Maryland members to contact their state delegates and senators and demand that they pass a $15 statewide minimum wage this year.”

To contact your Maryland state legislators, please call the General Assembly’s toll-free number at (800) 492-7122.

Montgomery County Members Now Eligible for Paid Sick Days

Thanks to the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2015, a new law championed by UFCW Local 400 and our allies, if you work in Montgomery County, you can take paid time off if you or a loved one get sick.

Starting October 30, 2016, as a UFCW Local 400 member working at Giant or Safeway in Montgomery County, you earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours you work, and you can earn up to 56 hours a year.

You can use your paid sick leave to:

  • stay home when you get sick
  • go to a doctor’s appointment
  • take care of a sick family member
  • get services for domestic violence or sexual abuse

At UFCW Local 400, we fight hard to pass innovative laws like this one, so our union members and their families can focus on getting better, not just getting by.

If you have questions about this new law or if you have been denied sick leave, contact your union representative immediately or call our headquarters toll-free at 1-800-638-0800 (Mon – Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

Earned Sick Days Passes Maryland House of Delegates

The galleries were full of earned sick days supporters as the  House of Delegates debated the Healthy Working Families Act last week. Photo via Working Matters.

The galleries were full of earned sick days supporters as the
House of Delegates debated the Healthy Working Families Act last week. Photo via Working Matters.

Legislation Passes 84-54 With One Week Remaining in Session

Reposted from our friends at Working Matters, a coalition of more than 150 organizations committed to advancing the Maryland Campaign for Paid Sick Days.

The Maryland House of Delegates voted 84-54 today to approve legislation that would allow Maryland workers to earn up to seven paid sick days per year.

The successful House vote marks the furthest the bill has ever advanced within the Maryland General Assembly. The Healthy Working Families Act (HB 580/SB472) now awaits action in the Senate, where it currently remains in the Senate Finance Committee.

“Today, the House of Delegates underscored that Maryland families can’t wait any longer for earned sick leave,” said lead House sponsor Delegate Luke Clippinger. “With this vote, we are one giant step closer to ensuring that hundreds of thousands of working Marylanders no longer have to make the impossible choice between their health and their job, between the well-being of their families and their economic security.”

Also today, in a letter delivered to Senate President Miller and every member of the Senate, nearly 100 religious leaders from denominations and congregations across the State called upon the Maryland State Senate to act swiftly in passing a strong earned sick days bill. “When the health of workers is compromised by illness, they need time away from work to heal without fear of losing their jobs,” the faith leaders wrote. “People should not need to choose between earning an income to support themselves and their families or taking the time to restore their health or that of their family members.”

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that more than 700,000 Marylanders — nearly 40 percent of the state’s workforce — are unable to earn paid sick days to use when they or a family member are ill.

An October 2015 poll conducted by the University of Maryland/Washington Post found that 83 percent of voters support allowing workers to earn a limited number of annual paid sick days. This support was broad across key voting blocs, including 91 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans.

Specifically, the Healthy Working Families Act will:

  • Allow Maryland workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to seven full days (56 hours) of paid sick days per year.
  • Allow part-time workers to accrue fewer days per year, depending on the number of hours worked.
  • Permit employers with existing paid leave standards to maintain those policies as long as they comply with the minimum requirements of the Act.

With just over a week remaining in this year’s state legislative session, supporters of earned sick days – including faith leaders, community advocates, public health officials, nonprofit executives, parents with their children, and Maryland workers unable to earn paid sick days – will continue to rally in front of the State House each morning to greet senators as they head into floor sessions, and to urge passage of the Healthy Working Families Act.

To date, five states and 24 cities or counties – including Montgomery County, MD – have enacted earned sick days measures, either through legislation or voter-driven ballot initiatives, and more wins are on the horizon.

Take Action to Ensure Swift Passage in Senate

With only one week remaining in Maryland’s legislative session, your Senator needs to hear why there’s no reason to wait until 2017 to pass the Healthy Working Families Act.  The bill has been vetted for four years and is ready to go, as is evidenced by action taken in the House. Please click here to ask for your Senator’s help in bringing the bill to a vote.

BREAKING NEWS: Earned Sick Days Headed to Maryland House Floor

Reposted from our friends at Working Matters, a coalition of more than 150 organizations committed to advancing the Maryland Campaign for Paid Sick Days.

YOU DID IT!  After four years of tireless advocacy, earned sick days legislation is headed to the floor of the Maryland House of Delegates!

The bill was voted out of the Economic Matters Committee late yesterday and is expected to be debated on the House floor this morning.

As momentum continues to build and we approach final passage in the House, we must rapidly turn our attention to the Maryland State Senate, where we need the leadership of Senate President Mike Miller to ensure passage in 2016.

Call Senate President Miller (410) 841-3700

Please take a quick moment today to call the office of Senate President Miller.  It couldn’t be easier and will only take a moment. We’ve pasted a sample script below so that you’ll know exactly what to say when an aide answers the phone.

Senate President Miller
(410) 841-3700

Sample Phone Script:

My name is ________ and I live in ________, Maryland. I’m calling to ask for Senate President Miller’s leadership on earned sick days legislation, known as Senate Bill 472.  More than 700,000 Marylanders can’t afford to wait another year for earned paid sick days.  It’s time for a Senate vote. Thank you!

With only 11 days remaining in the legislative session, please make a call today! Encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.

For real time updates as the bill progresses on the House floor, follow Working Matters on Facebook and Twitter.