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Lansing Democrats Introduce Paid Sick Leave Bills

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Democrats in Lansing and President Donald Trump may have finally found an issue they can agree on – paid sick leave. 

During his first joint address to Congress, President Trump promoted paid family leave.  On Wednesday, House and Senate Democrats in Michigan introduced a bill that would require employers to provide earned, paid sick time. 

Under the bill, employees would earn one hour of sick time for every thirty hours they work, whether they are part-time or full-time.

The legislation would let workers use the time off for their own illness or the illness of a close family member.  It would also apply to LGBT families, grandparents raising children, and single-parent families.

Senator Jim Ananich, a bill sponsor, said there are many issues he and President Trump disagree on, but, “Paid family leave is one that I think crosses all sorts of partisan boundaries.”

“And obviously the President thought enough of it to speak to it…and I think our colleagues in the House and Senate should join with us and make this a non-partisan issue,” Ananich said.

Christina Hayes is a mother from Detroit.  She has had to risk being fired or miss doctor appointments for serious illness.  

Hayes said people shouldn’t have to make those types of decisions.  “It’s like, do you go to work, you pass out, you die trying – literally.  Or you put a legislation such as this in place to help people like myself,” she said.

Republican leadership in the Senate has not yet formed an opinion on the legislation.  But spokesperson for House Republicans, Gideon D’Assandro said, “Michigan is in the middle of an incredible recovery, with hundreds of thousands of people finding new jobs and rapid income growth.”

“We cannot put Michigan workers at risk and cost this state jobs for a massive new political mandate,” D’Assandro said. 

But bill sponsor Representative Stephanie Changsays many Michiganders are in favor of the legislation. 

“We’re gonna keep pushing,” she said.  “Really this should not be, and is not a partisan issue.  We’ll keep advocating and keep bringing up the voices of folks who are most affected by these issues.”

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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