In an unprecedented 9-0 vote, Maryland’s Montgomery County became the newest jurisdiction to pass paid sick leave legislation. Starting in October 2016, the most populous county in Maryland will follow in the footsteps of eighteen cities and four states in the country which have passed similar measures in the last ten years. On top of this, the Montgomery County legislation contains some of the most stringent provisions concerning sick leave for part-time and small-business workers that has been put into law in the nation, including a provision mandating that workers under the age of 18 receive paid sick leave as well. “The Montgomery County paid sick days law is one of the strongest yet, and it should serve as a model for the state of Maryland and the nation,” ” said Charly Carter, Maryland Working Families director.
However, the fight is not over yet. In the past year, upwards of 7 million workers had to choose between going to work with the flu and other illnesses or being fired. Working mothers are forced to send their sick child to school because they cannot afford to stay home. Those who serve our food and clean our homes should not have to fear docked pay if they stay home when not feeling well.
The United States and South Korea remain the only industrialized countries not to mandate paid sick leave at the federal level. An overwhelming majority of the countries across the globe require paid sick days for employees, including many nations in the Global South like Pakistan and South Africa. The road to federal legislation is long and winding, but with steps like these it seems that after years of grassroots work our campaign is picking up steam.