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Effort to Add Paid Sick Days Has Been Narrowed, More Debate Potentially on the Horizon

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Senators may be on the verge of approving paid sick days. But, the bill they're considering would be a very narrow requirement.

Home health care workers deserve five paid sick days a year. That's the new requirement in a bill now under consideration by the Senate.

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, a Democrat from Prince William County, initially introduced a bill that would have required paid sick days for essential workers, but senators narrowed it considerably so now it applies only to this one kind of worker.

Republican Senator Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg asked Delegate Guzman what would happen if the governor amends her bill to expand it beyond home healthcare workers.

"Without me looking at what the governor wants to do, I cannot say what I will do,” Guzman said.

Obenshain then replied, "I read you loud and clear. Thank you."

Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw says if Governor Ralph Northam expands the bill beyond its current posture, the bill might have a hard time getting out of the Senate.

"I'll tell you this, if he does amend it to put the private sector in I'm going to vote no," Saslaw said. "OK?"

If the bill gets out of the Senate, the governor does have the ability to amend it any way he sees fit. But lawmakers would have an opportunity to reject an amendment when they meet again for their veto session later this year.

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