Protected Time Off Act: Bill would give 27 million more Americans PTO

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Some Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are introducing a bill to ensure all Americans get two weeks paid vacation every year.

“You’ve earned it and it’s a right everyone should have in this country,” Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas.) said.

As many as 27 million Americans don’t have access to paid time off.

Texas Congressman Greg Casar and Rhode Island’s Seth Magaziner are co-sponsors of the “Protected Time Off Act.” It would give all full-time workers ten paid days off every year.

“Maybe it’s to take care of family members or just because they need a break. And that’s OK. We want to normalize that. It’s OK to take a vacation every once in a while,” Magaziner (D-R.I.) said.

Those ten days would be on top of existing state laws for paid sick time or family and medical leave.

Ruth Martin is with MomsRising, a parents advocacy group.

“Too many of us are missing our baby’s first smile or our parents’ last breath because we cannot get away from work,” Martin said.

But some business groups say a broad government mandate isn’t the best answer for different companies with different needs.

“Ten days of paid leave may be the perfect number, but it’s certainly not going to be everybody,” National Retail Federation Vice President of Government Relations & Workforce Development Edwin Egee said.

Egee says adding a federal law on top of existing state and local laws could create difficulties for employers.

“So, we feel like if there’s going to be some sort of federal solution here it should pre-empt those state and local laws,” Egee said.

Egee says his group is working with lawmakers to find a solution that isn’t one-size-fits-all.

The bill has support across both houses but not both parties. So far, several Democrats have signed on to the House bill, with a similar version being introduced in the Senate.

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