Growing chorus of voices for paid sick days

May 6, 2009 | Aaron Keating

Newspapers across the country are carrying articles, op-eds, and editorials about the need for minimum paid sick days for every American worker:

Washington: Sick with swine flu but no paid sick leave: Last week, The Seattle Times editorialized to “take care of yourself — wash your hands and cover your cough. If you’re ill with flu symptoms, go to the doctor, not to work.” And there is the catch. Not all of us have the right to even one day of sick leave. | Seattle Times

Connecticut: Paid sick leave should be required: No employee in Connecticut should fear losing a job for staying home when sick. And employers should recognize that over the long haul their enterprises are likely to be more productive while in the care of healthy employees. | Connecticut Post

North Carolina: Paid sick days for better health: [S]taying home from work when a slight fever sets in or you start to sneeze isn’t so simple for the many North Carolina workers who, in this economy, can’t afford to lose a day’s pay by missing work. | North Carolina News and Observer

New York: The Cost of Staying Home Sick: If President Obama is serious about responsible action to control infectious disease threats, he should back legislation to grant Americans at least seven paid sick days a year… . Then virtually all Americans could heed his advice, and we would all be safer. | New York Times

Philadelphia: Calling in sick: President Obama has been urging people to take the same steps as they would to prevent a regular flu: wash hands frequently; cover their mouths, and stay home from work if they are sick. It’s too bad that 57 million workers will have a hard time with that last one. | Philadelphia Daily News

Connecticut: Sick and Fired: If Kia Murrell gets sick, she can call out from work and still earn a day’s pay while recuperating at home. If Marie gets sick, she’s got to sniffle, sneeze and vomit her way through the work day. Murrell is a lobbyist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), the state’s largest business lobby. Marie drives buses for Bridgeport public schools. CBIA gives its employees paid sick days. Marie’s company doesn’t. If CBIA has its way, that’s how it will stay. | Hartford Advocate

Washington DC: Swine flu or not, many workers can’t stay home: The directions from health officials battling swine flu are clear: Stay home from work. Don’t risk infecting others. And certainly don’t send a sick kid to school. But what if you’re one of the estimated 57 million working Americans with no paid sick days? Staying home could mean losing a paycheck, or worse, losing your job entirely. | Washington Post

Connecticut: Staying Home Isn’t Always Possible: Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and even the White House have reminded us of the simple, common-sense ways we can reduce the spread of the virus: Cover your mouth when you sneeze, wash your hands frequently and if you feel sick stay home from work or from school. It’s that last part, however, that could cause real problems. | Hartford Courant

New York: School flu closings put working moms in a bind: The goal is to keep the flu from spreading. But the request brings up a glaring disconnect…[n]early half of the people who work for private employers in the US have no paid sick leave, according to an analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among low-income workers in private employment, almost 80 percent have no paid sick time. | Christian Science Monitor

Connecticut: Food Workers’ Sick Pay Would Serve The Public: If Bill doesn’t go to work, he doesn’t get paid. Instead, he has dragged himself in when he shouldn’t have — and prepared food for the rest of us. He’s also sent people home who were too sick to be out of bed, much less preparing or serving food to the public. | Hartford Courant

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Posted in A Fair Deal at Work, Health Care, Paid Sick Days

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