American workers have some unlikely allies in the fight for paid sick days. California Republican Mimi Walters has sponsored a bill that would encourage companies to provide 14 to 20 days of paid time off, and big business loves it.

Currently in committee, the bill would also encourage companies to allow for flexible work arrangements like job sharing or working remotely. On average, companies currently offer 10 days of vacation and 10 days of sick leave per year; the new legislation would lump all days off into one category, which would include sick time, vacation and holidays.

The measure would create a national paid-time off policy for sick days and other personal needs, and businesses that comply would be exempt from tougher state and municipal rules. There are at least 40 different local laws designed to protect workers from being fired or disciplined for trying to follow doctor's orders. About one-third of U.S. workers get paid sick days, either because local law requires it or their company offers it voluntarily.

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