BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Five years of trying finally paid off today in Annapolis.
Alex DeMetrick reports a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick leave is on its way to the governor.
At a final rally just before the final vote on a bill that will mandate sick leave for Maryland workers, supporters expressed their relief that the measure was in its final steps.
“It’s fantastic to see it finally make it to the last stop before it’s passed out of the legislature,” supporter Liz Richards said. “We’re absolutely thrilled.”
But House Republicans were anything but. They see it as a blow to small businesses.
Del. Nicholaus Kipke (R-Anne Arundel County) says it “could provide them with a burden that could actually force them to close their doors.”
The bill mandates one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers with fifteen or more workers will have to comply. Those with less than 15 must provide unpaid sick leave.
It would be a major change for many.
“Nurse them all night to get the fever down, give them tissues in one pocket and cough drops in the other, and say ‘Please don’t go to the nurse until you really have to, because mom has to work,'” says single mom Darlene Butler-Jones, of her procedure for sending her kids to school when they’re ill because she can’t stay home with them.
The reality of that kind of choice, between working or staying home for an illness and losing money, helped push the bill across the finish line.
The Maryland House of Delegates passed it Wednesday morning by a vote of 87 to 53.
This is not the sick leave bill Governor Larry Hogan was backing, though, and a veto is a real possibility.
“It is common sense,” says Del. Luke Clippinger (D – Baltimore City). “It is ready to be signed into law, and we call upon the governor to sign this bill.”
If Hogan vetoes it, supporters say they will vote to override it during next year’s legislative session.
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