Grayson: GOP Defied Democracy to kill Earned Sick Pay

September 11, 2014


CONTACT: David Damron                                                        

                        Grayson: GOP Defied Democracy to kill Earned Sick Pay

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, marked the 2nd anniversary of Orange County Commissioners breaking their own charter and state law to deny workers earned sick time, with this statement:

“About 45 percent of Orange County’s workers have no access to a paid sick day. Yet sooner or later, we all need to take time off to deal with a personal or family illness. Lack of paid leave exacerbates the financial hardships that workers already face. That’s why earned sick time is so badly needed in Central Florida’s lower-wage economy, and New York and other cities have adopted this job protection benefit. And it’s also why California Democrats signed this statewide worker safeguard into law just yesterday.”

“Yet two years ago to the day, the Republican-led Orange County Commission broke its own governing document and state law, all to delay putting an earned sick time referendum to voters on the 2012 ballot. They not only put party politics ahead of working families, they insulted more than 50,000 voters who signed a petition to get that measure on the ballot.”

“Not surprisingly, voters approved this referendum last month with 62 percent support. They saw it as both a compassionate and business-smart protection. But due to the delayed vote, Republicans in Tallahassee had time to pass a law that preempts local governments from adopting such protections. Gov. Rick Scott signed it into a law last year, delivering what Orange GOP Chairman Lew Oliver called “the kill shot” to Orange’s local sick pay effort.

“I now call on Republicans in Central Florida and Washington to support the federal Healthy Family Act (H.R.1286), a bill I’ve co-sponsored which would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days annually.”

“No worker should ever have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a loved one. It’s shameful that two years ago today, Orange’s County’s Republican Commissioners couldn’t recognize this basic need.”