Fighting with the Sky

Support Healthy Families

Posted on: June 24, 2009

Girl With Pen wrote a post today on the need for paid sick leave for both American workers and employers. The Center for Economic and Policy Research recently published a report titled “Contagion Nation: A Comparison of Paid Sick Day Policies in 22 Countries.” This report found that the U.S. is the only one of these 22 countries that does not require paid sick days or leave for employees. As a result,

each year millions of American workers go to work sick, lowering productivity and potentially spreading illness to their coworkers and customers.

The CEPR then published a follow-up report titled “Paid Sicks Days Don’t Cause Unemployment.” As you can tell from the title, requiring employers to provide paid sick days does not cause an increase in unemployment. In “Contagion Nation,” the authors state,

A substantial body of research has shown that in addition to the obvious health and economic costs imposed on employees by the lack of paid sick days or leave, significant costs result as well for employers. Workers who go to work while sick stay sick longer, lower their productivity as well as that of their coworkers, and can spread their illnesses to coworkers and customers.

As you can see from this research, there is a need for paid sick days and not a whole lot of threat of unemployment.

The Healthy Families Act, which is currently in the House of Representatives, would require companies with more than 15 employees to provide seven paid sick days. I think that this is an important piece of legislation because it will not only help American workers, but it will have a great impact on the lives of working women. This act allows paid sick leave if you are sick, to care for an ill family member, or to seek domestic violence services. Women are usually the ones who are burdened with caring for ill family members and to be affected by domestic violence.

I recently wrote my representative, Hon. Vern Ehlers (cough…Republican…cough), to urge him to work towards passing this act, for the reasons I’ve mentioned above. His response: “I recognize the value of paid sick leave, but am concerned about the potential impact of this legislation of small businesses.”
After reading this post from Girl With Pen and learning about the reports from the CEPR, I am considering writing to him again with more evidence to my point. I urge you to write your representatives. NOW has some more information on the act and a sample letter to send to your representative.

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