WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule to give federal contractors the ability to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year.

“Americans should never have to make the impossible choice between losing a day’s pay and caring for their health or the health of a loved one,” said Brown. “This proposal is a step in the right direction and we must build on this rule to make access to paid sick leave a standard in the workplace. Paid sick leave promotes health and productivity at work while also providing workers with the economic stability they need. All workers should have the opportunity to earn paid sick leave.”

DOL’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking follows President Obama’s September announcement to extend paid sick leave to more than 300,000 federal contractors this week. 

Brown is a cosponsor of the Healthy Families Act, legislation which would allow workers to earn paid sick time while protecting business owners.

The Healthy Families Act would:

  • Allow workers to earn paid sick time to address medical needs and care for family members: Workers can earn up to 56 hours (seven days) of paid sick time—one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers could use this time to recover from illness, care for a sick family member, obtain preventative or diagnostic treatment, or to seek help if they are victims of domestic violence. 
  • Provide important worker protections while addressing business concerns: Employers with fewer than 15 employees are exempt from the bill. Employers with existing leave policies can maintain them as long as their existing leave policies meet minimum requirements described in the HFA. The bill also permits employers to require workers to provide documentation supporting any request for leave longer than three consecutive days. 
  • Decrease health costs and improve worker productivity by reducing the spread of disease: By reducing unnecessary emergency room visits, universal paid sick days would save the economy $1 billion in health care costs per year, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.