House passes Elizabeth Guzman’s paid sick days bill
The House of Delegates today passed Del. Elizabeth Guzman’s bill to require employers to provide up to 40 hours of earned paid sick time per year for essential workers.
The bill, which now heads to the Virginia Senate, contains a hardship waiver and exempts retail businesses with fewer than 25 employees.
Employees are allowed to use the leave for themselves or to care for a family member.
“Our essential workers have kept this country running through the pandemic, yet many of them do not have access to a single paid sick day, even if they get COVID-19,” said Guzman, a Northern Virginia Democrat running for the party’s lieutenant governor nomination.
“As someone who once worked three minimum wage jobs with no benefits, I understand what it’s like to leave a sick child at home so that I could pay the rent,” Guzman said. “The choice between health and a paycheck is still one that 1.2 million Virginia workers who lack a single paid sick day are forced to make. That’s why I’ve introduced a paid sick days bill every year since I was first elected, as my constituents have been asking for paid sick days since I was first knocking on their doors in 2017.
“I thank my Democratic colleagues for hearing the people we represent and supporting this bill, which I have narrowed this year to increase its chances of passing the Senate. However, I will keep fighting until no worker is left behind.”
A new poll from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center showed 88 percent of Virginians believe employers with at least 25 employees should provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave.