Washington, D.C. — Heather Boushey, Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement today on a Wisconsin court ruling in support of paid sick days:
Valuing families means making sure that families can be both breadwinners and caregivers. In November 2008, 69 percent of voters in Milwaukee approved a local ordinance that would provide workers with paid sick days that they could use for their own illness or to care for a family member. The city fought the ordinance, but today, the court ruled that it is valid and can be implemented. This is an important victory for families, for workers, and for democracy.
It may be a short-lived celebration, however. On March 3, while Democratic senators remained in their undisclosed location, the Wisconsin Senate passed S.B. 23, which blocks counties, cities, towns, and villages in Wisconsin from passing their own worker health or family leave laws. The bill is still pending in the Wisconsin House but is expected to pass.
Most families have all adults in the labor force. This means that most need time off from work to care for a sick child or other family member without fear of losing their job or much-needed income. The paid sick days bill in Milwaukee gave workers that right—a right that should be provided to all workers. But a conservative legislature bent on busting unions and degrading families is working to make sure that even when people want to protect and value families in their communities they will not have the right to do so.