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Md. Lawmakers Consider Paid Sick Leave Bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Maryland lawmakers are consider a bill that would allow workers to earn paid sick leave.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports it's a bill that caught the attention of the president.

A few days before his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama chatted up the lunch crowd in a Baltimore restaurant about paid sick leave.

"Employees are more productive; there's lower turnover," he said.

Maryland Senator Catherine Pugh's paid sick leave bill earned her a seat at the State of the Union.

"We are the only advanced country on earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers," he said. "That forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home so I'll be taking action to help states adopt paid sick leave laws of their own."

Senator Pugh's bill allows workers to earn paid sick leave in companies that otherwise don't offer it---particularly in food service. Advocates say lower paid employees will benefit most.

"We are in one of the worst flu epidemics we've seen in years and everything you see and hear says stay home if you're sick; keep your kids home if they're sick. What are you supposed to do if staying at home means you don't get paid that day?" said Melissa Broome.

The bill is called the Healthy Family Leave Act.

"Because it is about bringing people up and about lifting communities and lifting families," Pugh said.

Some of those working moms and dads will be there to speak for themselves at a hearing on Tuesday.

If you're working full-time, you'll earn about seven days of leave a year.

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