Hear Us Hogan: Sick People At Work is Bad for Business and Workers

Del. Luke Clippinger describes the need for paid family leave

On May 25, 2017, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed HB1, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. This bill was passed with overwhelming support in the General Assembly and would have provided at least five days of sick leave a year to people who worked for companies with 15 or more full-time employees. In vetoing the bill Governor Hogan focused on the impact on employers, not employees.  

Hundreds of Marylanders have written to Governor Hogan to share with him how important the Healthy Working Families Act is to the 750,000 working people in Maryland who do not have paid sick days. The Governor has yet to address the impact that his veto will have on these families. Since the messages have not gotten the Governor’s attention we share a few of them here:

  • “I had to ignore my body’s advance warnings that a heart attack was in my future. That’s because I can’t afford to miss a day’s pay to take time off, even when I feel very ill…I believe it got that bad because I couldn’t go to the doctor to treat those symptoms.” -Paul, Baltimore*
  • “I regularly work around sick children, because many parents end up bringing sick kids to child care, because they lack paid sick days. It’s a revolving door, with illness being passed from person to person. I, too, am unable to earn paid sick days. If I get sick, I have to choose between losing pay or coming to work sick.” -Taryn, Baltimore*
  • “I’m not able to earn any paid sick days on my job. This winter I got bronchitis and couldn’t shake it. I had to miss 5 days of work because I was sick, and I lost about $1,000 in pay in the middle of the Christmas season.” Tom, Glen Burnie*
  • “For the worker who is pressed, who lives paycheck to paycheck (which happens to be the majority of us), a day out sick is a day without a paycheck. Many go to work sick. This is a public health problem that has clear economic dimensions as well.” -David, College Park
  • “I work at a furniture upholstery shop…We don’t have any policies around sick leave, so everyone comes to work sick and illnesses spread quickly.  It’s obvious that it’s a major drain on our productivity.” -Ryan, Baltimore*
  • “Healthy people make a community stronger. I’m not interested in my health being jeopardized because I may have to work around sick people. This type of veto has the potential to make EVERY workplace a hazardous one.” -Cherise, Silver Spring
  • “[Paid family leave] would relieve a significant amount of anxiety when my son, who has asthma, gets sick. I’d be able to care for him and not worry about the money I’m losing by being home.” -Heimy, Takoma Park
  • “Governor Hogan…we need your common sense on keeping our State’s working people protected from losing wages trying to take care of their families and themselves when there is an illness in the family that they cannot avoid. Governor Hogan when you came down with cancer we stood by you. Now we need you to stand by us.” -Mitchell, Baltimore

*from Working Matters

Beth MacKenzie is the founder of Hear us, Hogan! an advocacy organization that is focused on asking Governor Hogan to hold a town hall to engage with his constituents.

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