Ongoing Paid Sick Leave Battle in Annapolis

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– An interfaith group held a small rally in Annapolis Thursday asking for passage of a paid sick leave bill.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports, they presented a letter to the House and Senate leadership.

That letter is a reflection of the concerns they raised in their rally.

Everyone gets sick, not everyone has time to get better. It’s the message the interfaith group took to the statehouse Thursday, and shared their own experiences.

“And I said to them I can’t come in tonight, and he said oh Ann can you come in for just a little bit maybe just one shift – no, I’m sick I’ll make people sick. He said well how about tomorrow? And you know the dilemma? I needed the money. I needed to go in, and I was sick,” said Pikesville resident Ann Zielinski.

It’s the dilemma the Baltimore City health commissioner testified to last year.

“They delay medical care, they also spread diseases to other people including food borne illness and the flu, making everybody around them sick, too,” said Dr. Leanna Wen, Baltimore health commissioner.

Most advocates are backing a version of the bill that has companies with 15 or more workers earning one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.

Employers with fewer than 15 workers would have to allow them unpaid time off.

Governor Hogan’s plan applies to companies with 50 or more workers earning up to five sick days. Employers with fewer than 50 workers would be eligible for tax deductions in exchange for offering paid sick time.

“Our bodies are holy vessels, the divine spark dwells in each one of us according to Jewish tradition and people need to be able to have the ability to take care of themselves,” said Laura Wallace, for Jews United for Justice.

A matter considered more than worthy of prayer.

The Maryland Retailers Association said while employers do care about their employees not every business can afford to follow a state mandate.

More than 300 faith leaders signed the letter in support of the Healthy Working Families Act.

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