Status of Work and Family bills in Olympia

olympiaWednesday, March 13 was “cut-off” in Olympia. For the rest of the legislative session, only bills that have already passed the House or the Senate will be considered, except for budget bills and bills “necessary to implement the budget.”

Neither Paid Sick Days or Family & Medical Leave Insurance made it past cut-off – but thanks to all of your great work and a tremendous amount of public interest and support, we still made a lot of progress.

Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far this session:

Our coalition-sponsored bills were heard and moved through committees, positioning them well for future action:

  • HB 1313, establishing paid sick and safe leave, successfully passed out of the House Labor and Workforce Development, Appropriations, and Rules committees, but was not brought to the House floor for a vote. The Senate companion SB 5594 was heard in the Senate Commerce and Labor committee.
  • HB 1457, implementing family and medical leave insurance, successfully passed out of the House Labor and Workforce Development committee and was heard in the Finance committee. The Senate companion SB 5292 was heard in the Senate Commerce and Labor committee.

We blocked 2 out of 3 bills that would roll back paid leave protections:

  • SB 5159, repealing family and medical leave insurance, and SB 5728 preempting local paid sick and safe leave regulation both passed out of the Senate Commerce and Labor committee and Rules committee, but were not brought up for a vote on the floor.
  • However, SB 5726, placing geographic limitations on local paid sick leave and paid safe leave programs did pass the Senate and will be sent over to the House.

We have placed paid leave solidly on the policy agenda as key to healthy families and healthy communities:

  • Policymakers, the media, and the general public are growing increasingly aware of the high social and economic costs when workers do not have paid leave available, and the far-reaching benefits of paid leave policies.

Our coalition still has work to do this session, and we’ll let you know when it’s time to act:

  1. We need to stop bad policy. We must make sure that SB 5726 dies quickly in the House, and that restrictions on local sick leave ordinances and repeal of family and medical leave insurance are not part of any budget deal.
  2. We need to let legislators and the Governor know that Family and Medical Leave Insurance and Paid Sick Days remain important policy priorities.

Also, some great news from around the country:

  • Portland, OR passed paid sick and safe leave! Portland’s City Council unanimously adopted paid sick leave standards on March 13 (up to 5 days in companies with at least 6 employees).]
  • Philadelphia passed paid sick and safe leave! Their City Council approved paid sick leave by a vote of 11 to 6 today, March 14.

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