ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — If you’re among the hundreds of thousands of Marylanders with no paid sick days, there’s a movement on your behalf.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports on the pressure to get Maryland to pass a law.
It’s called the Healthy Working Families Act and some of those families were rallying Tuesday.
The hours are long, the wages are low and there’s no paid sick leave. Thousands live it; one of them is Erika Farrell, who has two small children.
“So they’re looking at me—they don’t know the sacrifices I have to make—they’re looking at me to provide food and a roof over their head,” Farrell said.
Farrell is among some 700,000 Marylanders with no paid sick days.
“I have a child with asthma and it’s a hard thing,” she said. “He was in the hospital and I had to make a decision: do I go to work or do I stay with my child who is scared because he was in the hospital.”
“If I take a day off of work, I don’t get paid,” said Megan Sennett.
Since Sennet’s testimony last year, little has changed.
“I still only feel maybe one sickness away from financial disaster,” she said.
But opponents fear financial disaster for small business owners.
“They’re operating with three and five people in their stores and if they have one or two employees go out for an extended period of time, you just can’t operate like that,” said business owner Curt Zanelotti.
That’s been a strong argument; the bill failed to get approval last year.
The question isn’t unique to Maryland; paid sick leave is also on President Barack Obama’s agenda.
The bill would allow employees to earn one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours worked, up to seven days a year.