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Portland Council To Take Up Paid Sick Leave Measure

Portland’s city council is poised to vote Monday night on a requirement for city employers to provide workers paid sick leave.

The measure would require that all workers in the city earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Councilor Belinda Ray, who helped to write the proposed ordinance, says supporters want to get it passed before state lawmakers finish work on a statewide paid time off policy that could preempt action by the city.

“What we have before us tonight works better for workers and employers in the city of Portland. For one thing it would cover more people than the state bill would. And for another it gives employers the option to have paid sick leave as opposed to paid time off. The state bill mandates paid time off,” she says.

Some employers, including Maine Medical Center, had opposed the measure, saying it could infringe on employees’ ability to use existing paid time off hours as they see fit. Ray says the measure aims to protect flexibility for workers at companies that already provide more than five days of paid time off.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.