Senate Budget Debate Remarks from Sen. Lewis on Emergency Paid Sick Time

During the November 18 Senate budget debate, Senator Jason Lewis offered the following remarks regarding his proposal to expand Emergency Paid Sick Time for Massachusetts workers during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“My remarks are in reference to amendment 360, which was dealing with emergency paid sick time. It was withdrawn a short while ago.

“Protecting the health and safety of residents is no doubt our top priority in this pandemic. All workers must have the ability to take care of themselves and their loved ones without losing their paycheck. Low-wage workers are our first line of defense against COVID-19 but these people are seeing the worst devastation from this pandemic. Many frontline workers are struggling desperately and lack adequate paid sick time.

“We provided earned sick time in a 2014 ballot law and the federal government recently made paid sick time available to many workers. But it isn’t totally adequate and many workers still do not have enough paid sick time. My amendment would fill the gaps by providing up to 10 additional days of paid sick time.

“We are not able to adopt this tonight, but an identical bill I filed received a favorable report from committee earlier this year and it is still pending in Senate Ways and Means. Many [senators] support this and we will continue to advocate for it.”