Tomorrow Is The Last Day To Help 830,000 Workers Get Paid Sick Days
It’s a fact: everyone gets sick from time to time. But not everyone is afforded the time to get better. Across the United States, 43 million American workers lack any paid sick days. This forces workers to choose between losing pay or caring for themselves or a sick family member.
In an effort to address the lack of paid sick days, last September, President Obama issued an executive order to expand paid sick access to nearly 830,000 workers who service federal contracts. And though there is still a long way to go to make sure all American workers have guaranteed paid sick leave, President Obama’s executive order is a significant step toward ensuring that Americans don’t have to choose between their health and their economic security. Here are some reasons why expanding paid sick leave is so important for American workers and their families:
- Nationally, 39 percent of private sector workers lack access to a single sick day. Overall, 43 million Americans do not have any paid sick days, which means that workers are forced to go to work sick in order to keep their paychecks and parents can’t take off work to care for a sick child without risking their jobs. And for people of color, the numbers are even worse: 44 percent of black workers and nearly half of Latino workers lack paid sick days.
- Low income workers are much less likely to have access to paid sick days. In the low-paying retail industry, only 47 percent of workers can miss work when sick without losing pay. And for the bottom quarter of wage earners, 69 percent lack paid sick days.
- Paid sick days are good for workers and businesses. Paid sick days help businesses by reducing turnover and increasing worker productivity. Overall, allowing workers to earn seven paid sick days annually, the economy would save $160 billion.
President Obama’s executive order is an opportunity to expand on the progress that has already been made to help implement more policies to help support the health and security of working families. Across the country, there have been movement to help families by expanding paid sick leave, paid family leave, and increase the minimum wage. Currently 5 states, 23 cities, and one county have paid sick laws, but there needs to be guaranteed paid sick days for all American workers. Congress could give all Americans paid sick days with the Healthy Families Act, but they have yet to act.
The paid sick executive order is currently in the comment stage, meaning public support will help ensure the order is implemented. If you are like 88 percent of Americans who want all workers to be able to earn paid sick days, you can voice your support for the executive order here. The comment period ends tomorrow, so submit your comments now!
BOTTOM LINE: No one should be forced to choose between losing pay and caring for themselves or a sick family member. The president’s executive order ensures that nearly 830,000 more workers have expanded paid sick days, but with 39 percent of private sector workers missing out on paid sick time, there is still more to be done. It’s time for Congress to act to protect all Americans.
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