Each day, workers across the country face impossible dilemmas. Do they go into work knowing the risks to their own health and to others around them, or do they stay home and lose a paycheck? Do they send a sick child to school, knowing they’re risking the health of their daughter and her entire classroom, or do they jeopardize their job by taking a day off to care for her?
This is a choice too many families face, and it needs to end. No one should have to choose between a paycheck and a sick child, or taking care of her health.
That’s why I am fighting to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would allow workers to earn up to seven days per year in paid sick time.
Guaranteeing paid sick and family leave to all Americans would protect public health and increase economic security for millions of families. Nearly two million Ohioans—45 percent of our workforce—currently have no paid sick leave.
Not only does this affect their own health, but these workers are often working in service jobs where they risk infecting others. Adults without paid sick days are one and a half times more likely than adults with paid sick days to report going to work with a contagious illness, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. With more than 8,800 Ohioans hospitalized because of the flu this year, it’s more important than ever that we control the spread of infectious diseases at work.
This plan is good for both workers and businesses. Employers already providing sick time would not have to change their policies, as long as they meet the minimum requirements. Businesses with fewer than fifteen employees would be exempt from having to provide paid sick days. We know that when workers are healthy, they are more productive. And providing paid sick days decreases turnover and gives employers safer, healthier, and more stable workplaces.
That’s why the National Partnership for Women & Families and more than 100 employers support this legislation.
For too many Americans a sick day means a day without pay, and that needs to end.