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New Poll: Broad Support for Paid Sick Day Policy Among Virginians

A new poll shows widespread support for paid sick days.

Eight out of ten Virginians support requiring employers to offer paid sick days. That’s according to a new poll conducted by YouGov released by Virginians for Paid Sick Days. The poll also shows that 72% of Republicans support paid sick days.

Kim Bobo is executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. 

“This poll clearly shows that people in Virginia want a policy on paid sick days," Bobo explains. "It’s not just that they support the concept. They want a policy, and they want our legislators to enact the policy.”

But so far Senate Democrats have not been on board. Earlier this year, they killed the idea. And when the special session convened last month, they killed it again.

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman is a Democrat from Prince William County, and she had a bill requiring paid sick days in the House. But after Senate Democrats killed a similar version, she paired her bill down. Now it requires businesses to offer paid quarantine leave for COVID-19.

“Many of these workers are in front-line jobs preparing our food and sanitizing buildings with no benefits," she says. "These are the heroes who have kept our country running, and they should not have to lose their paycheck if they get COVID-19.”

Guzman says she’s not giving up. She says she’s hoping the strong public support for paid sick days will eventually persuade Senate Democrats that requiring businesses offer paid sick days is good for business and good for workers.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.