For the second year in a row, state Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, a dozen other Democratic legislators, along with the Working Families Party, are trying to pass legislation that forces companies with more than 25 employees to give their workers a chance to earn up to 6.5 sick days a year.
“We need to treat people like they’re human beings,” Prague said at an afternoon press conference. State Rep. Steve Fontana, D-North Haven, said, “I think this is legislation whose time has come.” Last year the bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 23 to 13, however, it never came to a vote in the House.
Republican State Chairman Chris Healy, who happened to stop by the press conference, said the business community has to understand how dangerous the Democratic leadership is to their livelihood and the livelihood of their workers. He said businesses “don’t need government to keep telling them how to run their businesses.”
Fontana said it’s likely companies will complain about the cost of the legislation, however, he points out that there’s also a cost when someone gets sick because a foodservice worker came to work with the flu. He said there’s also a cost when a heavily medicated school bus driver gets in an accident because they had to come to work sick.
Larry Deutsch, who is a doctor, Hartford councilman, and member of the Working Families Party, said he often encounters parents who bring their children in for a chronic illness and confide in him that they won’t be coming back because they can’t take anymore time off work. “There should at least be some security,” he said.
Healy said the federal government already provides that security under the Family and Medical Leave Act.