The Latest: Senate panel approves sick pay compromise

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on Rhode Island's debate over a paid sick leave mandate (all times local):

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6 p.m.

A Rhode Island senate panel has approved a compromise proposal that would require private sector employers to provide their workers with paid sick days.

The Senate Labor Committee voted 7-1 to approve the amended bill Wednesday. It now awaits consideration by the full Senate, as well as the state House of Representatives.

The original bill would have guaranteed seven days of sick pay, but the compromise version guarantees four days starting next year and five days by 2019. That's similar to what's offered in neighboring Massachusetts.

The compromise version also exempts small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. It would also exclude certain workers from the benefit, such as independent contractors or interns.

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Business groups had negotiated to scale back the mandate but remain opposed to some of the provisions.

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Corrects that Senate labor committee, not judiciary committee, passed the measure

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2:20 p.m.

Rhode Island State Police have investigated a threatening email sent to a state senator about her legislation that would guarantee paid sick days for private sector workers, but police don't plan on pressing charges.

The business owner whose email address was used for the message says it was hacked.

State Police Lt. Col. Joe Philbin said Wednesday that the email sent to Democratic state Sen. Maryellen Goodwin "didn't rise to the level of criminal charges."

The profanity-laced email sent Tuesday said small business owners are "extremely close to violent opposition."

The email came from an address belonging to Kevin Durfee, owner of George's of Galilee restaurant in Narragansett, but Durfee told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he didn't send it. He says it's an old email address he doesn't use anymore.

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10 a.m.

Line chefs and waiters who help power Rhode Island's food industry are at odds with business owners on legislation that would require private sector employers to provide paid days off when workers call in sick.

Democratic state lawmakers have been negotiating with worker advocates and business groups over a scaled-back proposal similar to what's been adopted in other states and cities.

A panel of the Rhode Island Senate is scheduled to consider the compromise measure Wednesday.

The original legislation would have required employers to provide workers up to seven paid sick days to care for their own health or a family member's health. That could be dropped to five days, matching what's offered in neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Also being debated is an exemption for small business owners.

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12:20 a.m.

A proposal to guarantee paid sick days for Rhode Island's private sector workers is moving forward in the state General Assembly as worker advocates seek a compromise with business groups.

The Senate Labor Committee is scheduled to consider a compromise measure Wednesday.

It's not known if the panel will move the bill on to a vote in the full Senate. A companion bill is pending in the state House of Representatives.

Lawmakers have been negotiating over a scaled-back proposal.

The original legislation would have required employers to provide workers up to seven paid sick days to care for their own health or a family member's health. That could be dropped to five days, matching what's offered in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Also being debated is an exemption for small business owners.