Senior EPI economist Elise Gould testified in support of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (HB 385) before the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee today. In her testimony, Gould argued that earned sick leave is a wise investment for Maryland’s employers, workers, and the public.
Giving all Marylanders the ability to earn paid sick days would help workers care for themselves and their families. More than 700,000 Maryland workers do not have access to paid sick days. This means they often go to work sick, endangering their own health and the health of their colleagues. Meanwhile, working parents are often forced to choose between staying home with a sick child and going to work. Children are sent to school ill, diminishing their learning experience and exposing other students, teachers, and staff to infection.
“The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act is a good deal for Maryland workers, families, and businesses,” said Gould. “Everyone benefits when workers are able to stay home when they’re sick or when they have a sick child. The evidence from other cities and states that required earned sick leave has been uniformly positive.”
Gould noted that access to paid sick time is vastly unequal. Only one-in-five workers in the bottom 10 percent of the wage distribution have access to paid sick leave, compared with 87 percent in the top 10 percent.
Gould has also testified in front of the Maryland Senate Finance Committee in support of the Senate version of this bill, SB 40. EPI has conducted extensive research on the importance of sick leave, which can be found on EPI.org.