CASTLE ROCK, Colo., May 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) union today urged the Colorado Senate and General Assembly to swiftly pass and the governor to sign the "Healthy Families and Workplaces Act," which would provide paid sick leave to Colorado workers.
The legislation, SB20-205, would close dangerous loopholes in federal legislation that extended paid sick leave to some American workers during the COVID-19 crisis but left out others, including workers at companies with 500 or more employees. Additionally, workers would accrue an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours in a calendar year.
More than 40 percent of Colorado workers – about 800,000 people – are not currently eligible to earn paid sick leave.
"At a time like this, we simply can't force workers to make the choice between their health and their paycheck. Such a choice puts us all at risk," said Gaylan Prescott, director of USW District 12, which includes Colorado and 10 other western U.S. states. "This bill will allow us to contain this dangerous virus more effectively, keep workers and families safer, and put our economy on the path to reopen and recover more quickly."
The bill will help to prevent the spread of the virus to vulnerable communities and limit transmission of the disease, as fewer workers are forced to come to work sick, Prescott said.
"When workplaces and workers are healthy, businesses thrive," he said. "A healthy work force means higher employee satisfaction, higher productivity and lower turnover. All of these factors serve to strengthen individual businesses and our overall economy."
A poll conducted in early May showed 78 percent of Colorado voters support a law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave for workers to care for themselves and their families.
"All workers – whether during a pandemic or otherwise – deserve time to care for their health and the health of their families, particularly front-line workers like those in the health care and service industries," Prescott said. "We have learned the hard way during this crisis that the health of our economy and the health of our work force are inextricably linked. This bill will give us the tools to protect both, now and in the future."
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, [email protected], 412-562-2450
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)