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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [11/10/2009]
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Clarisse Young
Phone Number: (202) 693-8664 or x4676
Release Number: 09-1389-NAT

Deputy secretary of labor testifies before Senate subcommittee on paid sick leave for workers and families

Announces Obama Administration endorsement of Healthy Families Act

WASHINGTON — Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris today testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families regarding workplace flexibility and paid leave in the context of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Harris expressed the administration's strong support for the Healthy Families Act as a way to provide workplace flexibilities and increased economic security.

"It's common sense and good business sense — workers should be able to stay home if they are ill," said Harris. "The Healthy Families Act offers a great opportunity to level the playing field for workers and gives them the ability to stay home if they are sick without fear of losing their jobs or being forced to work sick."

Nearly 40 percent of private sector workers do not receive paid sick leave, according to a recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In his testimony, Harris noted that our current system forces many sick workers to go to work and many working parents to send sick children to school. He said such a system poses a threat to public health, the nation's economic future and a social system that depends heavily on people caring for themselves and their family members.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis added: "The Department of Labor is committed to making 'good jobs for everyone' a reality. A critical part of achieving that vision is workplace flexibilities that ensure workers and their families are healthy and safe. The Healthy Families Act is a strong step toward that end."

The full text of today's testimony is available on the Labor Department's Web site at
http://www.dol.gov/_sec/media/congress/20091110_H1N1.htm.