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Paid Sick Leave Bill Advances To Maryland Senate

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Advocates for paid sick days get a shot in the arm, as a bill requiring employers to let workers earn paid sick leave advances to the full Senate.

If you're among the hundreds of thousands Marylanders who have to choose between going to work or getting well, this one's for you.

They climbed the State House steps to send their message. Everyone gets sick and needs to time to get better, but not everyone can afford the time, because if you don't go to work, you don't get paid.

This week, the Senate could join the House in passing paid sick days legislation.

"We're ready for a vote on the Senate floor this week," said Elizabeth Sachs, with the Job Opportunities Task Force.

There are some differences between the bills in the House and the Senate.

The House bill requires employers to allows workers to earn a minimum of seven days. The bill going before the Senate is a six days minimum.

Advocates say the victory is that this is a step forward, although there's a way to go yet.

The Maryland Retailers Association warns of the possible impact on business, and consumer costs, saying it could cost some workers their jobs.

Supporters argue they'll make up for the cost in other ways.

"The idea that it's too expensive or too much of a burden can be flipped around when you look at it in terms of a productive and happy workforce," said Sachs.

[Report: "What is it you hope to see at the end of the session when that gavel comes down and they say this is over?"]

"That people will be able to know that they can go to their employers and say, "Look, I'm not feeling well. My child's not feeling well. My mother's not feeling well,' and be able to have that time off because they worked and earned it," said Barbara Tunstall

"The drum beat for support for this bill has gotten louder and louder," said Sachs.

Supporters have been fighting for earned paid sick leave for five years. This is the first time it has ever gone to the Senate floor for a vote.

Governor Hogan has a bill which applies to companies with 50 or more employees, but it has yet to gain traction.

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