Access to Paid Leave

COVID-19 has created a window of opportunity for advancing paid leave.

Amidst an ongoing economic recovery and global health crisis, providing paid leave is a benefit for both businesses and families. Across the board, paid leave policies have found positive benefits. However, without federal support, the burden falls to local governments.

How can cities make it happen? Read on.

The Case for Paid Leave

As of March 2020, 25% of private sector workers in the US had no access to paid sick leave; this was higher for part-time and low-income workers.
Paid leave offers a variety of benefits, including increased productivity, and positive effects on health, employment, and lifetime income.
Paid is good for business. 3 years after passing the first local paid sick leave ordinance in the US, San Francisco had a job growth rate 5x higher than neighboring counties.

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Short-term Options

Expand coverage and purpose, such as expanding paid leave coverage to gig economy workers and including bereavement as an acceptable purpose of paid leave.
Create and share guidance, in different languages, so that workers know their rights.
Take advantage of emergency powers that provide authority to pass sick leave ordinance, as seen in Goshen, IN.

Long-term Options

Expanding access to forms of paid leave outside of paid sick leave, including family and medical leave, as seen in D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act.
Provide people eligible for FMLA leave with paid family and medical leave, as seen in Connecticut in 2019.
Require all contractors and subcontractors who work with the city to provide paid leave and fair wage benefits.

With benefits to both businesses and families, it is clear that in the ongoing economic recovery and global health situation, providing paid leave is a way forward.