Paid Sick Leave
Forty-three million of our U.S. workers have no paid sick leave. For them, the threat of homelessness looms large. These workers may be unskilled with intermittent and unscheduled part-time work. They may earn minimum wage that pays about one-half the cost of food, shelter and childcare. Employers must give time off for sickness without termination by the Family Leave Act, but not paid sick leave.
Every worker, and his or her children and their grand parents experience illness. Children with a fever cannot attend preschool or kindergarten programs. Parents must pick them up, take them home and often remain at home, losing pay for a day or two.
Local hospitals are closing, and when a medical crisis occurs, parents, their children and retired grand parents may need to drive to and from a hospital in another town. This leads to another loss of a pay that a worker can ill afford.
There is good news. The national Healthy Families Act is has been proposed in Congress. If enacted, this Bill offers 7 days of paid sick leave each year. One sick day or, 56 paid hours, is earned for every 30 hours worked, whether part-time or full time.
More good news is that 300,000 federal contractors will get paid sick leave beginning in 2017, under President Obama’s Executive Order as of Labor Day.
In addition 23 jurisdictions around the country have passed paid sick leave legislation. This includes 4 states, the District of Columbia and 18 cities and towns. 88% of voters have declared themselves in favor of paid sick leave.
The U.S.A. is one of the few “developed” countries that does not offer paid sick leave to low income workers. This is a misstep that threatens the security of our children and their families, and the use of emergency wards for expensive tax payer paid care. Paid sick leave enables a worker to use preventative care in a doctor’s office.
Please ask an organization that you work with to join the coalition of organizations supporting the national Healthy Families Act.