March 30, 2021
Press Release
Co-sponsors Healthy Families Act, helps fight COVID-19 pandemic by providing workers with flexibility to stay home when sick without fear of losing a paycheck

March 30, 2021 (Rochester, NY) — Today, Congressman Joe Morelle announced his co-sponsorship of legislation to ensure all workers across America have paid sick days. The Healthy Families Act creates a national standard that would allow workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job-protected paid sick days each year.

“Hardworking families should never have to choose between job security and caring for themselves or a sick family member,” said Congressman Morelle. “I’m proud to co-sponsor the Healthy Families Act to ease the burden on workers and ensure they have the flexibility to prioritize their health and well-being without fear of the financial consequences. Not only will this help families in times of need, it will also curb the spread of infectious disease in the workplace and help our ongoing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.”

The National Partnership for Women and Families estimates that more than 30 million workers go without paid sick leave, making them vulnerable to job loss due to illness. With the passage of the Healthy Families Act, workers can use these job-protected sick days to:

  • Recover from their own illness to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Access preventive care for health screening and vaccinations.
  • Provide care for a sick family member, allowing working parents to keep their kids home from school and prevent the spread of illness.
  • Address the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking that have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Service Industry, low-income and minority populations are most affected by lack of paid sick leave. Studies have consistently shown that these measures would be beneficial to the economy by increasing productivity and decreasing the spread of contagious disease.

This legislation is particularly timely as our country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines advise people to stay home if they are sick, which not only protects the individual who may be ill, but also prevents the spread of disease to friends and coworkers—which is critical to containing the highly contagious Coronavirus.