News and Press

New Bedford Standard Times: Politicos huddle for paid sick time in Bay State

NEW BEDFORD — The campaign for paid sick time went into high gear in the city Saturday with a visit from U.S. Sen. Ed Markey as well as the California state representative who pioneered a law in her state.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, was behind a bill passed at the end of August to mandate earned sick time across California.

“There are 40 million Americans who don’t have the opportunity to take even an earned hour off if they’re sick,” Gonzalez said to a group of 15 at the Coalition for Social Justice, which brought the forthcoming referendum to the Massachusetts ballot.

“And of the 22 richest countries in the world, the United States is the only one where that happens. This is not normal, it’s not right.”

Gonzalez spoke at the coalition’s New Bedford branch on William Street. Her law allows California workers to accrue a day of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.

The Massachusetts law would allow the same, with a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time in a year.

Sen. Ed Markey called California the leader on earned sick time, adding that the Bay State would follow the lead of its West Coast counterpart.

“We are the two states that people look to if there is a progressive movement underway,” Markey said.