Shenanigans in the PA Senate

Stop Violence Against Women NOW diamond

Stop Violence Against Women NOW

Shenanigans in the Senate. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate Local Government committee added an amendment to HB1796. This bill passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives on January 14, 2014.  As it arrived in the Senate, it was designed to make it illegal for communities to evict a domestic violence victim from her home for calling 911 “too often.” The amendment that was added would outlaw local communities from passing/enforcing local paid or unpaid sick leave ordinances.

The amendment added by the  Senate Local Government Committee—shown in all caps here—basically guts this bill. On one hand, it protects victims of domestic violence from being evicted but, on the other hand, it threatens them with loss of their livelihood if they have to take off from work to protect themselves or their family members and cannot get paid or unpaid sick leave that goes beyond federal or state law.  Note, federal and state law only protect people who take sick leave who are employed by companies with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees.  Since the majority of employers have fewer than 50 employees, this amendment could threaten a victim of domestic violence in two ways:

  1. She could lose both of her livelihood and her home should she be unable to pay the rent as a result of her job loss.
  2. She might be forced into continuing the violent relationship should she want to leave if she fears losing her job and can’t take off time from work to productively deal with the violence and injuries that have been inflicted, even after having emergency service intervention.

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee need to be contacted asap to ask them to strip the “paid/unpaid sick leave preemption” amendment out of the bill. See note below.

The members of the committee are as follows. You can get their contact info by either going to the Senate Appropriations page or by linking directly to your state Senator below.

Majority Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee

Minority Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee

Minority Members of Senate Appropriations Committee

Thanks for contacting your legislator if she/he is on the Appropriations Committee.  Tell her/him to call for the removal of the paid/unpaid sick leave amendment that was added to the bill in the Senate Local Government Committee and then send the clean bill to the Senate floor for a full vote.

The Washington State Economic Opportunity Institute is absolutely correct. The United States of America needs to join much of the rest of the world and create paid family leave for all employees – both men and women. The current, unpaid family and medical leave guaranteed under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act for employees who work essentially full-time for a minimum of one year for companies with 50 or more employees is untenable.

The current system in the US allows for time off from work when you have a family medical emergency or the birth or adoption of a child. BUT it’s unpaid. For full-time employees only. And only if you work for a large-size company.

For the majority of working people, this is either unworkable (you live pay-check to paycheck and have no backup income if you take unpaid leave) and or is unavailable.

We need to have full income protection for all employees, not just the 11 percent of private sector workers and the 17 percent of public sector workers in the US who do get paid leave.

Let your Congressional delegation know that you want paid medical leave legislation introduced and enacted into law. This law should provide at least partial income replacement when you need time off from work to take care of a child, spouse, or other family member throughout the lifespan.

Washington Policy Watch

By Lisa Belkin, from the Huffington Post

maternity and paternity leaveAs of this week, a new father in Finland may take 54 days of paid leave to spend with his child. In Australia, a similar law gives new Dads two weeks off to bond.

These are but the two newest countries to provide paternity leave, with pay. All over the world — in places as diverse as Sweden (480 days; yes you read that right), Germany (365), Italy (90), Kenya (14), Switzerland (3) and Indonesia (2) — legislators have realized that time with a child, without worry over a lost paycheck, is a right, not a frill.

And in the US?

You know the answer to that.

As Zach Rosenberg has been highlighting on 8BitDad, companies aren’t required to offer paternity leave here. That is hardly surprising because while other countries are expanding their policies to include Dads, we are essentially the…

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