Strengthening All Families Through Paid Sick Leave in RI
On June 28, 2017, the Rhode Island Senate approved S290, The Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act, which would ensure workers in Rhode Island can take paid sick and safe days.
GLAD is supporting Rhode Island Senate Bill S290 and House Bill H7633 and believes that Rhode Island should join Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to provide additional economic security to workers and their families. This bill is important because it ensures that workers in Rhode Island can take paid sick and safe days. This type of paid leave is particularly important for the LGBTQ community. Research shows that LGBTQ people are more likely to live in poverty than their non-LGBTQ counterparts. And LGBTQ people of color and transgender people are especially vulnerable to poverty.
For these individuals and families, taking time off of work without pay can mean risking their paychecks, their jobs and undermine their economic stability. This bill would promote the economic security and stability of all workers in Rhode Island, including LGBTQ individuals and families.
GLAD also strongly supports the bill’s inclusive definition of “family member,” which is vital to the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ community and its families have historically lacked legal recognition or formalization under the law. Despite this, LGBTQ family relationships are critical to stability and well-being. In the United States today, family composition is increasingly diverse. Broadening definitions of family allows LGBTQ families “to accurately reflect their household” and to benefit equally from protections such as paid sick and safe leave. Rhode Island is no stranger to recognizing and protecting functional family relationships. And Rhode Island must continue to keep pace with the reality of today’s families.