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Portland Becomes 4th U.S. City With Paid Sick Leave Law

The Oregon city joins San Francisco, Seattle and the District of Columbia in mandating paid sick leave for the workers who toil within its borders.

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Portland, Ore., became the fourth American city to  approve a paid sick days law Wednesday, an  important step forward today that will help the city’s workers, employers, and residents. Portland joined three other cities -- San Francisco; Washington, D.C., and Seattle -- and one state, Connecticut, in modernizing workplace policies and acknowledging an important reality: everybody gets sick but no one should be at risk of losing a job, infecting coworkers or customers, or missing a day’s pay because of an illness.

While the economic and social benefits of paid sick days are numerous, Portland City Council members nevertheless weighed  the evidence in favor of and  against paid sick leave carefully. Ultimately, they  unanimously decided that this policy would help make Portland a stronger city and community. Worker-friendly policies like paid sick leave help  reduce turnover, saving businesses time and money they might have spent on training, hiring, and replacing employees. It also  strengthens worker loyalty and  increases worker productivity.

Paid sick leave also helps  lower health care costs by reducing the number of costly emergency room visits Portland hospitals will have to finance or subsidize. While  40 percent of private sector workers across the U.S. lack even one paid sick day, Portland residents who previously lacked this protection can now rest easy – and work even more diligently, knowing they are safe and covered.


Jane Farrell is a research assistant for economic policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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