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Michelle Noehren's picture

“I had to drive the school bus with the H1N1 virus. I am the sole provider for a family of four, so losing that one week of income was horrible.” – Wanda, Connecticut


“As a union stewardess I saw a manager tell a bus monitor that she "didn’t care that she’d have to find another family member to take her kid with a heart problem to the doctor." – Patricia, Connecticut

Wanda and Patricia’s experiences are far too common among employees without access to critical workplace policies like paid sick days. Workers shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and taking care of themselves or a sick family member.

That’s why I’m so proud to live in Connecticut.

Today, July 1, 2014, is the three-year anniversary of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s signing the state’s landmark paid sick days bill into law. As an active member of the Everybody Benefits Coalition, I was able to be part of the group that worked for several years to accomplish this win for working families. Sure, there were times when the opposition was strong but we always knew we were on the right side of this issue and that ultimately the Connecticut Legislature would do the right thing. And they did.

Winning paid sick days was an incredibly significant achievement. Research has shown time and time again that when workers have access to policies like paid sick days, they are happier, more productive employees who feel greater loyalty to their employer.

And for all the opposition we heard from the business community about how the law would negatively affect them, it turns out that wasn’t the case at all. A study released in 2013 by the Employment Policies Institute showed that there was only a minimal effect on costs and operations for employers. They also reported that of the 251 Connecticut employers they surveyed for their report, the vast majority supported the paid sick days law.

I think it’s safe to say that providing paid sick days is a win for working families and has not been shown to have an adverse impact on businesses. At last week’s White House Summit on Working Families, we heard many of our country’s leaders talk about the need for 21st Century workplaces that take into consideration workers’ work/life balance needs. The tide is turning and I’m proud to live in a state that has been -- and continues to be -- a leader on issues like paid sick days and paid family leave.

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