Omaha, NE — Today, advocates from across Nebraska officially launched a groundbreaking campaign to boost the state economy and defend workers’ rights by enacting paid sick leave policy for thousands of workers. The campaign will next begin collecting signatures to qualify their ballot measure for the 2024 general election.
The proposal from the Paid Sick Leave for Nebraskans campaign would require businesses to guarantee at least 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Currently, more than a third of full-time and three-quarters of part-time workers in Nebraska do not have access to paid sick leave, according to a 2021 Nebraska Benefits Survey. Only 15 states and Washington D.C. have state laws guaranteeing paid sick leave to workers.
In response to this announcement, Fairness Project Executive Director Kelly Hall released the following statement:
“Congratulations to the Paid Sick Leave for Nebraskans campaign on this exciting milestone! The Fairness Project stands ready to support this coalition as it navigates the ballot measure process, which has historically allowed Nebraska voters to make major progress on issues when politicians refuse to take action. We know that our families, our communities and our economy are all healthier when workers are able to take time to recover, and no one should be forced to work sick to provide for their families, or lose their job due to illness. We hope this much-needed, grassroots initiative can deliver the benefits and job security that Nebraskans deserve.”
Ballot measures have repeatedly proven to be an effective tool for voters to create their own paid leave guarantees when other legislative paths fail. The Fairness Project has previously supported state-based advocates to enact paid sick and family leave for millions of workers in several states:
- In 2016, the Fairness Project worked with Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families on a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage to $12/hour, ensure 40 hours of sick leave per year to employees of large companies, and 24 hours of sick leave per year to employees of small companies.
- In 2016 the Fairness Project worked with Raise Up Washington on a ballot measure to raise the minimum wage for workers age 18 and over to $13.50 and guarantee paid sick leave for more than 1 million workers.
- In 2018, the Fairness Project worked with Raise Up Massachusetts and provided early contributions to a ballot measure campaign seeking to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The campaign and its successful signature collection effort led to the passage of legislation to enact the wage increase and provide paid family and medical leave.
- In 2018, the Fairness Project worked with Michigan Time to Care on a ballot initiative to provide earned paid sick time to 2 million Michigan workers. Once the ballot measure qualified with a sufficient number of signatures, the Michigan state legislature adopted the policy later that year.
- In 2020, the Fairness Project worked with local partners in Colorado to win the nation’s first ballot initiative to guarantee at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for more than 2.6 million Coloradans.
- In 2018, Fairness Project worked with local partners to qualify a paid sick leave ballot initiative in San Antonio. The initiative led to the passage of a city ordinance to provide earned paid sick time to more than 350,000 workers.