Virginia Senate passes bills to expand access to paid sick days for grocery, health care workers

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Photo by: Manu Fernandez/AP Medical staff and nurses wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus gather during a protest demanding an improvement in wages and labor conditions at La Paz hospital in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Madrid has been the source of Europe’s most worrying surge of infections in the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Senate passed two bills that will expand access to paid sick days across the Commonwealth.

SB352  will provide paid sick days to more than 120,000 frontline health care and grocery store workers. Under the current law, employers are only required to provide paid sick leave to home health workers who provide consumer-directed services.

The bill will remove requirements that health care workers have to work at least 20 hours per week for paid sick leave. The bill also provides that certain health care providers may waive their right to accrue and use paid sick leave and provides an exemption for certain other health care providers.

It passed the Senate by a 21-9 vote.

SB624  requires that employers provide paid sick leave to home health workers who provide agency-directed services. The bill provides that “employer” includes the Commonwealth, any of its agencies, institutions, or political subdivisions, and any public body.

It passed the Senate with a bipartisan 22-18 vote.

“These are the frontline heroes we spent the beginning of the pandemic talking about,” said Maddie Beecher, Executive Director of Freedom Virginia, “Now we’re finally doing something to ensure they have the protections they deserve and require. Thanks to these bills, , Virginia is taking the steps to establish a broader standard that will dramatically improve the lives of Virginians. They will no longer need to choose between their health and their paychecks. This bill can act as a standard for other businesses to model a sick day standard after, and we must continue to push for paid sick days for all of our workers.”

The bills now head to the House.

Addison Hunter

Addison Hunter

Director of Communications, Freedom Virginia

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