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Children lobby state legislators for paid leave

Rachel Baye

The lobbyists in the General Assembly Tuesdsay were younger than the Statehouse’s usual crowd. 

Six-year-old Vivienne Martin Mulkey took the day off from her Takoma Park elementary school to advocate for a bill that would guarantee sick leave to Maryland workers.

“When I get sick and my friends get sick, I want my mom and their moms to not lose their job when they have to take care of me,” Martin Mulkey said.

Melissa Broome, a spokeswoman for the Working Matters Coalition, said several parents brought their children to advocate for the bill Tuesday ahead of an afternoon hearing in a House committee. Under the bill, businesses with at least nine employees to give workers one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Smaller businesses would be required to provide unpaid sick leave.

“It will mean that people don’t have to choose between their health and their paycheck, don’t have to choose between sending a sick child to school or daycare and putting food on the table that week,” Broome said.

She said 40 percent of Maryland workers don’t earn paid sick leave.

A Senate committee is scheduled to consider the bill Thursday.