PORTLAND, Maine — In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Portland City Council's Health and Human Services Committee voted to adopt a measure that would guarantee paid sick days for most Portland workers.
The measure would require Portland businesses to give paid sick days to workers by allowing them to earn one sick hour for every 30 hours worked, for up to 40 hours.
This would include part-time, temporary, and most per diem workers, according to a release from DrewChristopher Joy, director of the Southern Maine Workers' Center.
"We are thrilled to see this proposal move forward to full City Council after over a year of careful consideration by the Health and Human Services Committee," said Eliza Townsend of the Maine Women’s Lobby. "We believe the ordinance will serve the entire Portland community well. It’s time to show Maine that universal earned paid sick days are possible."
"I’ve been advocating for this earned paid sick time ordinance for over year. When I started, I was working several part-time and per diem jobs and didn’t get any paid sick time, which was a hardship when I had bronchitis," said Southern Maine Workers’ Center member and Portland worker Philippa Adam. "I am hopeful that soon Portland will have ordinance that will cover thousands of workers who desperately need work protections, safety, and security."
The Keep Portland Healthy Coalition, which backs the measure, says paid sick leave is a sensible solution to a problem that impacts many workers. The measure would help an estimated 19,000 people in the city, according to Joy -- most of whom work in restaurant and hospitality industries.
The measure will now go before full council for a vote. The date has been undetermined.