Not a day goes by lately that I don’t see some update or another on H1N1, or on the seasonal flu vaccine. It’s that time of year again. The National Partnership for Women and Families has a good site on supporting paid sick days, as both a worker justice issue and a public health concern. If you are a U.S. reader, visit their interactive map and find out about campaigns going on in your area. In Illinois, 46% of Illinois workers do not have paid sick days; that’s 2.3 million workers. Women Employed is leading the Illinois Paid Leave Coalition in support of the Healthy Workplace Act (HB 3665), state legislation that would:
- allow employees to earn up to 7 paid sick days per year, accrued hourly for every 30 hours worked
- provide leave for the employee’s own illness, to care for family members, or for medical appointments
- both full-time and part-time workers qualify
On the federal front, the Healthy Families Act would offer the same thing nationwide—seven paid sick days per year, for the 48% of workers in the U.S. (and 80% of low-wage workers) who do not have them.
Expensive? Not according to a study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Let’s face it, we’ve all gone to work sick. That’s where we catch most of our illnesses—at work, because others are doing the same thing. And those of us with kids—well, those classrooms start resembling a sick ward around November (my daughter’s school had a notable number out for a couple of weeks last winter; it’s a Title I school, so most of the parents are low-income with no sick leave). It doesn’t have to be this way.
Lu Lutta Continua
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