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Federal Paid Sick Leave Is Needed to Support Prevention and Public Health and Address Inequities

      In our article, “State paid sick leave and paid sick leave preemption laws across 50 U.S. states, 2009–2020,”
      • Pomeranz JL
      • Silver D
      • Lieff SA
      • Pagán JA.
      State paid sick leave and paid sick-leave preemption laws across 50 U.S. states, 2009-2020.
      we found that by 2020, a total of 12 states had paid sick-leave laws, whereas 18 states solely preempted or prohibited local paid sick-leave laws without requiring coverage. We also found that by 2019, <30% of U.S. jobs were covered by state-required paid sick leave. Shinall overstates the limitations of the data used to calculate this percentage because the data did not allow for the capture of all job categories excluded from state-paid sick-leave laws. The denominator for each state in the data is the total number of jobs, so the few job categories not captured likely had a minimal impact on the total percentage of jobs covered by paid sick laws. Nonetheless, under all scenarios, the result is the same: less than one third of U.S. jobs were covered by state laws. Although we appreciate Shinall's cautious approach to federal policymaking and believe that more empirical analysis can always add value, the public health, economic, and legal literature on which we base our conclusion on the need for a federal paid sick-leave law is extensive. Given substantial inequities in occupations for whom paid sick leave is voluntarily provided by employers (with low-wage workers the least likely to have paid sick leave) and our finding that more states preempt local paid sick-leave laws than require paid sick leave, such a federal law would be beneficial because it would set the norm and provide minimal paid sick-leave protections for all workers in the country. Our conclusion is shared by other experts in the field

      Lankachandra D, Gomez C, Leiwant S, Make J. Sick without a safety net: now is the time to build on state successes with a federal paid sick time law. New York, NY: A Better Balance; March 2022. https://www.abetterbalance.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Healthy-Families-Act-RD5.pdf. Accessed March 7, 2022.

      National Partnership for Women & Families
      The family and medical insurance leave (FAMILY) act.
      • Miller CC.
      A key to returning to normal is paid sick leave, Democrats say.
      Building an economy for families act garners widespread praise [press release].
      • Himmelstein DU
      • Lawless RM
      • Thorne D
      • Foohey P
      • Woolhandler S.
      Medical bankruptcy: still common despite the Affordable Care Act.
      • Milli J
      • Frye J
      • Buchanan MJ.
      Black women need access to paid family and medical leave.
      and is based on the strength of the evidence. Variation in state-paid sick-leave laws, state preemption, and lack of employer provision of paid sick leave to low-wage workers creates substantial inequities nationally. The time is ripe for a federal paid sick-leave law.
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      REFERENCES

        • Pomeranz JL
        • Silver D
        • Lieff SA
        • Pagán JA.
        State paid sick leave and paid sick-leave preemption laws across 50 U.S. states, 2009-2020.
        Am J Prev Med. 2022; 62: 688-695https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2021.11.018
      1. Lankachandra D, Gomez C, Leiwant S, Make J. Sick without a safety net: now is the time to build on state successes with a federal paid sick time law. New York, NY: A Better Balance; March 2022. https://www.abetterbalance.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Healthy-Families-Act-RD5.pdf. Accessed March 7, 2022.

        • National Partnership for Women & Families
        The family and medical insurance leave (FAMILY) act.
        National Partnership for Women & Families, Washington, DCSeptember 2021 (Accessed March 7, 2022)
        • Miller CC.
        A key to returning to normal is paid sick leave, Democrats say.
        The New York Times. February 21, 2022 (Accessed March 7, 2022)
      2. Building an economy for families act garners widespread praise [press release].
        Ways & Means Committee, Washington, DCJuly 14, 2021 (https://waysandmeans.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/building-economy-families-act-garners-widespread-praise#:∼;:text=The%20Building%20an%20Economy%20for%20Families%20Act%20would%20close%20many,Credit%20expansion%20within%20the%20American. Accessed March 7, 2022)
        • Himmelstein DU
        • Lawless RM
        • Thorne D
        • Foohey P
        • Woolhandler S.
        Medical bankruptcy: still common despite the Affordable Care Act.
        Am J Public Health. 2019; 109: 431-433https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304901
        • Milli J
        • Frye J
        • Buchanan MJ.
        Black women need access to paid family and medical leave.
        Center for American Progress, March 4, 2022 (Accessed March 7, 2022)
      3. Paid sick leave to protect income, health and jobs through the COVID-19 crisis.
        OECD, July 2, 2020 (Accessed March 7, 2022)