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A split is growing between cities that want to require private companies to give workers paid sick days and states that are determined to stop them.
Yet for an epidemic that often festers in private, this study [by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health] also points to a solution in the workplace: keeping workers safe, first and foremost, and if they do get hurt, ensuring “Access to care, support, and the means to take time off of work with pay.”
As more cities mandate paid sick days for workers, the reaction from many small businesses is a big, so what?
"Paid sick leave, minimum-wage hikes, higher taxes on the rich for teachers -- these are all overwhelmingly popular among both Democratic and Republican voters," Saru Jayaraman, an academic at the University of California at Berkeley and co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which has pushed raising the wage for tipped workers. "Ballot measures are the greatest path to allow working people to move the issues they believe in, but they're being subverted."
Danielle Atkinson, founder of Michigan Time to Care, which spearheaded the paid sick leave proposal, was grateful for the approval of the proposal, but said that her group will now spend its time making sure it’s not gutted after the election.
The problem with policies that don't distinguish between leisure time and sick time, however, is that workers often will go to great lengths to avoid taking off for the latter. As such, many have a tendency to come to work sick, which pretty much benefits no one.
The county legislature is considering a bill to require all employers provide some sick time, even for part-time workers – although the smallest businesses would be able to make it unpaid. [Includes video.]
Employees without paid sick benefits – of which there are 34.2 million in the private sector – are three times more likely to have family incomes below the poverty line, according to research from Florida Atlantic University and Cleveland State University published in Social Work in Health Care.
"We're here tonight to speak up for the 350,000 people currently who do not have [paid] sick time," local business owner Julio Lopez said.
Dawn Dalton, the policy director at the Washington, D.C., Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said scheduling demands are consistently the largest obstacle standing between the victim and a different life: “I hear, again and again, ‘I just can’t get time off work.’”
People need time to care for themselves or a sick loved one, which is why 44 jurisdictions have passed paid sick days. Yet, lobbyists are urging Congress to give wealthy corporations a way to evade state and local laws and go back to putting limits and punishments on their employees for using the paid sick time they’ve earned.
Maythe made the decision to stay home from the bakery where she works to take care of her 9-year-old son. It turned out he had the flu, and she had to miss three days of work. She didn’t get paid for those days, and it set her family back on their bills.
While Rhode Island's paid sick and safe leave law protects survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault so they don't have to worry about losing their jobs while going to court or seeing a doctor, advocates argue that H.R. 4219 - the Workflex in the 21st Century Act currently on the table - would put these protections at risk.
A bill in the Pennsylvania legislature that intends to reverse Philadelphia’s sick leave ordinance may also affect LGBTQ employment protections.
The new [paid sick days] law struck a chord with some employees at Langosta Lounge. "When you miss one day, it kind of domino-effects," said Ryan Harrington, 30, of Bradley Beach, a server there. "A little less money for whatever bill I have to pay, or something I want to do. That one day can set me back for the month."
Workers without paid sick leave are three times more likely to have incomes below the poverty line, two new studies find. Compared to adults who have the employee benefit, those without paid sick leave are also more likely to have difficulty affording food. They're also more likely to use welfare assistance, the researchers said.
At first, I didn’t take the paid sick leave initiative in San Antonio seriously enough, maybe because I’m fortunate enough to be compensated for days I’m out sick. Call it a failure of empathy.
Workers in Westchester rallied Monday afternoon in support of paid sick leave. Labor leaders say 125,000 employees in the county do not have it.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has released a new study which finds that approximately 39 percent of San Antonio workers lack paid sick leave, a figure which puts San Antonio above the estimated national average of 36 percent.
Ale Tierra-Williams, a San Antonio-based cook, says the issue is not only a professional concern but also a matter of public health. "The thing is that I work in the service industry so I cannot be at work if I'm sick," she says. "So that will be, for me, it's losing hours, losing money and possibly getting fired. It's that serious."
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