The politics of calling in sick

Sick-day measures are on at least a half-dozen ballots in November, including in Massachusetts, Oakland, Calif., and a few citIes in New Jersey. At least six more states will take up the issue in 2015, including Colorado, Maryland and Vermont.

“We understand these are building blocks to a national standard,” says Ellen Bravo, director of Family Values @ Work, an umbrella organization for state coalitions pushing paid leave. She hopes this fall’s vote will boost momentum, upping the issue’s profile and making 2015 “a tipping point to going national.”

The effort is part of a fierce partisan battle for women voters, who are much likelier than men to take time off to care for a sick child or an elderly parent. Family-friendly policies let Democrats demonstrate some pro-women bona fides — and accuse Republicans who oppose such measures of stoking a “war on women.”