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Dems say COVID-19 shows need for expanded earned sick days


Some Democrats think the COVID-19 outbreak illustrates the need for expanded paid sick time for workers.

State Representative Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) introduced a bill to require employers to provide one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked with a cap of 72 hours earned sick time. The current law is one hour for every 35 hours worked with a cap of 40.

Kuppa says it not only helps workers, it helps businesses.

“They benefit more when workers stay home because then they don't infect others. And I think that that's true even now, even more because of COVID,” she said during an online news conference held by Michigan United, a progressive group. 

Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) is a co-sponsor of the bill.

“So the fact of the matter is if we don't have healthy workers, we don't have healthy business. And I think that's what we need to keep in mind. This is about a bigger picture,” she said.

The legislation calls for the same earned sick time as a 2018 voter initiative. The Republican-led legislature adopted the initiative and then amended it to reduce earned sick time hours during the lame duck session. Governor Rick Snyder signed it into law.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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