The Connecticut legislature recently approved the country’s first statewide paid sick days law for low-wage workers. Gov. Dan Malloy, one of the bill’s champions, is expected to sign the bill soon. The new mandate will provide up to a week of paid sick time for workers to recover when they are sick or to care for a sick family member. The law will apply mainly to service workers in companies with 50 or more employees. The law will not apply to manufacturing, temporary workers or independent contractors.

Passage of this bill comes as a result of years of tireless campaigning by the Connecticut Working Families organization, and more than 40 public health, community, labor and other groups. Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, says paid sick leave is essential in building resilient and healthy communities across the country. “No one should have to choose between work and their health, yet that is what many workers without paid sick days are asked to do. We have made progress in improving our public health system, but we have more work to do. Providing paid sick leave for employees would go a long way to protect America’s health.”