Last year, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Wisconsin’s Republican legislature approved a law making it illegal for Wisconsin’s cities to require that businesses provide their workers with paid sick days. Milwaukee had crafted a law mandating paid sick leave for workers within the city, but Walker and Wisconsin GOP nullified it. A judge, in ruling that the state had the ability to preempt Milwaukee’s law, said “I don’t feel real good about how this happened politically.”
Louisiana’s legislature is now considering a similar bill to preempt local efforts at requiring paid leave for workers, as Half in Ten and the National Partnership for Women and Families noted:
S.B. 521, legislation that would take away Louisianans’ right to enact local paid sick days policies, is about to be voted on by the House — one of the last steps to enactment. Currently, more than 600,000 workers in Louisiana don’t have paid sick days, and if this bill becomes law, cities and parishes would lose the chance ever to put common-sense paid sick days standards in place…Louisiana already prohibits municipalities from setting their own minimum wage and can’t afford another anti-worker policy.
Just a few cities in the country — Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle — along with the state of Connecticut require that workers receive paid sick leave. The United States is all alone in the industrialized world in not requiring some form of paid leave as a matter of national policy. Each year, the U.S. economy loses $180 billion in productivity due to sick employees attending work and infecting other workers.