Thursday, 21 March 2019 18:33

Groups gather in support of earned paid sick time Featured

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AUGUSTA - A proposal for earned paid sick time once again was at the forefront in Augusta Thursday.


This time, some female leaders and members of advocacy groups came out in support of the bill.


"No Mainer should have to worry about choosing between their paycheck and caring for themselves, a sick child, or a sick parent," said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, D - Arrowsic.


Sen. Vitelli was stepping in for a colleague who was, ironically, home sick. The assistant senate majority leader rallied support for an earned paid sick days bill.


The bill would require employers provide one hour of paid sick time for every thirty hours worked.


Those for the bill said it would help female workers, especially those who work part time.


"It was just really, really hard," said Lynnea Hawkins, a Lewiston mother. "So I'm here talking for all the other moms who can't be here today."


Hawkins said she was let go for needing time off for her sick kids and her own health.


"I went through three jobs in three months because my bosses did not care that my kids were sick. I wasn't filling a seat they wanted filled," said Hawkins.


The bill, sponsored by a Democrat, has some Republicans worried it will hurt more than it will help.


"The small businesses - they can't afford this. It would put them out. It would be just another notch with the minimum wage going up," said Sen. Scott Cyrway, R - Albion.


The legislation would apply to businesses of more than five employees. Some Republicans are looking to move that number up to 15, and are working on a compromise that some lawmakers said will better keep government mandates out of family businesses.


"We want those part-time, flexible jobs to be available for women. We don't want those jobs going to kiosks," said Sen. Stacey Guerin, R - Glenburn. "By supporting Maine's small businesses, we keep that flexibility of employment for women."


The bill is still being worked on in committee.


Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...

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