Maine Republican leaders block vote on earned paid sick leave

Maine Republican leaders block vote on earned paid sick leave

Republicans on the Legislative Council on Thursday blocked a bill by Senator Anne Haskell, a Democrat from Portland, that would have allowed nearly 200,000 Mainers to earn paid sick leave. The bill — LR 2497, “An Act to Strengthen the Economic Well-being of Maine’s Workforce by Ensuring Employees Can Earn Paid Sick Time” — would have ensured that workers at companies with 11 or more employees have the ability to earn up to seven days of paid sick time per year.

“This bill is desperately needed by the thousands of Maine people who are working full time and playing by the rules, but can be set back for months or even years because of an unexpected illness or injury,” said Haskell in a statement. “Without paid sick leave, workers not only lose pay, but face potential disciplinary action or even firing for calling in sick. Those workers deserve better, and I’m saddened that today, politicians let them down.”

This is the second time Republicans on the Legislative Council have voted to block the bill from being heard by the Maine House and Senate. The vote on Thursday was on an appeal by Haskell of the Council’s initial decision.

“This issue is about workers, but it’s also about women. More women than ever before are working outside the home, balancing leadership in the workplace with the responsibilities of heading households,” said Amy Halsted, Associate Director of the Maine People’s Alliance, after the vote. “Today, instead of standing with women by requiring responsible and practical leave policies that protect women against discrimination and help working women care for their families, Republican legislators decided to allow discrimination through antiquated leave policies that force women to choose between their families and their jobs, and stood on the side of corporate profits over Maine women and families.”

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