Patrick and McGovern Join UMass Memorial Health Care in Endorsing Earned Sick Time Ballot Question
Largest Health Care System in Central and Western Massachusetts Urges Yes Vote on Question 4
WORCESTER, MA - Governor Deval Patrick and Congressman Jim McGovern today joined leaders of UMass Memorial Health Care in a press conference endorsing Question 4 on November’s ballot, which would ensure access to earned sick time for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts families.
“Everyone gets sick, but almost one million workers can’t earn a single hour of paid sick time to care for themselves or a loved one,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We’re better than that in Massachusetts, and passing Question 4 will help families and our economy become stronger.”
“Allowing sick employees to take paid time off keeps money in the hands of working people who will spend it in their neighborhood, growing our local economy,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “I’m supporting Question 4 because working people deserve to be able to see a doctor when they are sick without worrying about losing their job or a day’s pay.”
At the event in Knowles Hall at UMass Memorial Medical Center, speakers talked about the economic and health benefits of Question 4, which would help the 37% of workers in Worcester who lack access to a single paid sick day, according to a recent report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.
“Earned sick time is about supporting working families so they don’t have to choose between their jobs and taking care of a sick child or parent,” said Eric Dickson, MD, President and CEO, UMass Memorial Health Care. “As the largest employer in the Central Massachusetts region, we’re proud to support Question 4 because it is good for workers, good for businesses and good for our economy.”
Question 4 would guarantee every worker in Massachusetts access to the benefit of earned sick time, and prohibit employer retaliation against workers who take time off due to illness. At companies with 10 or fewer employees, workers would earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time to visit the doctor or take care of a sick family member. At companies with 11 or more employees, workers would earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time.
"As a person of faith, the health and wellness of an individual is a basic human dignity that should be prioritized by all,” stated Reverend Jose Encarnacion, Co-Senior Pastor, Christian Community Church and Chairman of the Board, Worcester Interfaith. “If an individual is sick or a dependent in their care is sick then time should be prioritized to provide the care needed without concern for loss of pay employment termination."
The campaign for earned sick time in Massachusetts has seen growing momentum in recent weeks, as more than 75 Massachusetts economists, the state’s Catholic bishops, nine newspapers, and dozens of businesses, including the state’s leading hospitals, endorsed Question 4.
“For thousands of Worcester families, getting sick means losing a day’s pay, leaving less money to put food on the table, buy school supplies, or pay rent,” said Representative Jim O’Day. “Question 4 will change that, and give all workers in Massachusetts the ability to earn sick time to take care of themselves and their families.”
Question 4 is supported by over 250 community organizations, faith groups, labor unions, businesses, and civic leaders, including the Alliance for Business Leadership and the state’s leading hospitals and healthcare providers.
UMass Memorial Health Care
UMass Memorial Health Care is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Central Massachusetts with more than 12,000 employees and 1,600 physicians, many of whom are members of UMass Memorial Medical Group. Our member hospitals and entities include Clinton Hospital, HealthAlliance Hospital, Marlborough Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center and Community Healthlink, our behavioral health agency. With our teaching and research partner, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, our extensive primary care network and our cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular, and musculoskeletal programs, UMass Memorial delivers safe, high-quality and compassionate care.
For all media inquiries contact our media relations department; email Anthony.Berry@umassmemorial.org or call 774-317-0422.