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Senator Murray called on the Senate to take up and pass her emergency paid sick days legislation in a speech on the Senate floor 

Last week, Senator Murray introduced legislation requiring all employers to provide employees 14 days of paid sick days, available immediately at the beginning of a public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis

In her remarks, Senator Murray emphasized the need for all workers to have access to paid sick days to promote public health and safety 

Without paid sick leave, millions of working people could be forced to choose between going to work sick and missing a paycheck 

Later, Senator Murray joined her Senate Democratic colleagues to outline additional steps the federal government should take to support local communities and states responding on the front lines of the crisis

ICYMI: Senator Murray Introduces New Emergency Paid Sick Days Legislation – MORE HERE 

Senator Murray: “Our primary goal right now, for people in my home state and across the country, needs to be slowing the spread of the virus in areas where there are outbreaks”

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR REMARKS HERE***

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S NEWS CONFERENCE REMARKS HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health and labor committee, took to the Senate floor to call for a vote to pass her emergency paid sick days legislation. The legislation requires all employers to allow workers to accrue seven paid sick days and to provide an additional 14 days available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis. While Senator Murray has long pressed for paid sick leave, the continued community transmission of coronavirus has highlighted the urgent need to pass paid sick days legislation to provide immediate support for workers who are prevented from working and promote public health. Senate Republicans, led by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), objected to Senator Murray’s motion, preventing passage of the legislation.

“Workers and their families want to do the right thing for themselves and their communities,” Senator Murray said during her remarks on the Senate floor. “But for many workers including restaurant workers, truck drivers, or service industry workers, you may not have the option to take a day off without losing a day’s pay or losing your job. And that leaves you with an impossible choice between putting food on the table, paying the bills, paying the rent—or protecting yourself and others.”

Later in the day, Senator Murray also joined her fellow Senate Democratic leaders to advocate for her paid sick days legislation and other policies to address the coronavirus threat—including efforts to ensure affordable health care, mitigate the wide-ranging impact of school closures, and address food insecurity and homelessness that could exacerbate community transmission.

(Watch full video of Senator Murray’s news conference remarks HERE)

Senator Murray has been a longtime advocate for paid sick leave, first introducing the Healthy Families Act (HFA) in 2004 and reintroducing it every Congress since. The continued community transmission of coronavirus has highlighted the urgent need to pass paid sick days legislation immediately, as roughly 1/4th of the nation’s private sector workforce currently could not miss work when sick without losing a paycheck. 

See Senator Murray’s full floor remarks below or HERE:

Thank you, M. President. I also want to thank all of my colleagues who are coming down to speak about this today.

Families in my home state of Washington are scared, they are frustrated, they are angry—and so am I.

New reporting makes clear that even after researchers in Seattle  raised serious concerns about the possibility of community spread in Washington state and tried to work with federal agencies to conduct testing—the Administration didn’t work with them to let the public know how serious this was.

You can be sure I am going to get to the bottom of this and make sure it can’t ever happen again.

I am furious that instead of acting with urgency, they did nothing. Instead of acting with transparency, they kept quiet. Instead of working to keep families safe, they wasted valuable time.

And now?

Over 20 people in my state have died.  Over a thousand across the country are confirmed to be infected – and experts are telling us that many more are likely ill.

I’m hearing from people in Washington state worried about older relatives dying alone, worried about having to miss work and being unable to pay rent, worried about how to keep their children safe at school—and how to care for them and make sure they get a nutritious meal if school is cancelled.

I’m hearing from small business owners worried no one is coming through the door, and unsure how to support their workers going forward.

I’m hearing from communities worried about how they protect people experiencing homelessness.

I have seen a lot in my years as a Senator, but I am not exaggerating when I say this is one of the most trying times I’ve seen my state experience. So I’m absolutely going to be holding the Administration accountable for missing so many opportunities to get ahead of this.

But I’m also going to be doing everything in my power to make sure we don’t miss the significant opportunities we do still have to slow this down and manage it as best we can.

Our primary goal right now, for people in my home state and across the country, needs to be slowing the spread of the virus in areas where there are outbreaks, so areas where it hasn’t hit so hard yet have time to prepare.

One of the best ways we can do this is by allowing workers who feel sick—or who need to stay home with a child whose school is closed—to do so without losing a paycheck or a job.

M. President, workers and their families want to do the right thing for themselves and their communities.

But for many workers including restaurant workers, truck drivers, or service industry workers, you may not have the option to take a day off without losing a day’s pay or losing your job.

And that leaves you with an impossible choice between putting food on the table, paying the bills, paying the rent—or protecting yourself and others.

M. President, that’s not a choice we should be asking anyone to make in the United States of America, in the 21st century.

But 32 million people in our country today—or roughly one out of every four private sector workers—are faced with this impossible choice every single time they feel sick. And right now, that choice has unique and potentially dire consequences.

Now—I’ve been advocating legislation to allow workers to earn paid sick days since 2004, along with my colleague Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in the House.  Time and time again we’ve been told “no”.

Even though this simple step is critical for public health and gives workers needed flexibility. In fact, we last reintroduced our bill in March of 2019.

Here we are, almost a year later to the day, without the very policies in place that would have helped millions of workers, and bolstered our resilience in the face of the exact kind of public health crisis paid sick days are intended to help prevent and mitigate.

But M. President, we have another opportunity to start getting this right.

I’m here to ask my colleagues to support our new emergency paid sick days legislation, which would ensure workers have 14 days of paid sick leave immediately in response to public health emergencies like the one we face today—in addition to allowing workers to gradually earn seven days of paid sick leave

It would mean you won’t lose a paycheck if—like so many parents in Washington state and across the country—your child’s school has to close in the coming weeks because of an outbreak.

It would mean you won’t lose a paycheck if your family member is quarantined and you need to care for them. Or if you can’t go to work because you’re feeling sick or your workplace is shut down, you won’t lose pay.

M. President, these are the real challenges people are facing now—and will continue to face.

And our bill would help workers immediately—the minute it becomes law.

We had enough delay from the other side of the aisle when it comes to paid sick days.

So let’s get this done and let’s keep working on a comprehensive, coordinated response focused squarely on what our families, workers, and small businesses need in the weeks and months ahead.

Democrats have a lot of ideas we are laying out today for this response—including how to ensure care and tests are affordable, support our most vulnerable communities, and reckon with the economic impact this crisis will have in our communities.

There is a lot we will need to do in the weeks and months ahead and we can start today.

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