By Sara Yufa, JWI
Unpaid sick leave forces millions of Americans to sacrifice pay and risk losing their jobs when they, or a family member, become ill. Yet in the United States there is no federal standard for paid sick days. Women suffer disproportionately from this injustice since this happens: More often than this: Women are usually the party responsible for caring for their sick children.Paid sick leave is good for stronger businesses and the economy at large! Proven by successful national models, paid sick days foster financial security and healthy and productive work environments. The Facts:
- More than 40 million American workers cannot earn a single paid sick day to use when they get common illnesses.
- Millions more cannot earn time to care for a sick child or family member.
- Overwhelmingly, mothers have primary responsibility for selecting their children’s doctors and accompanying them to appointments.
- Nearly half of mothers report that they must miss work when a child is sick – and half of those mothers do not get paid when they do so.
- Just 3.5 unpaid days off costs a family without access to paid sick days, on average, its entire monthly grocery budget.
- One-fifth of women workers report that they have lost a job or were told they would lose a job for taking time off due to personal or family illness.
Success at Home: The District of Columbia’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008 offers paid sick days to an additional 307,000 private sector workers in D.C. In assessing the impact of this law 5 years later, there was no evidence that businesses were ambivalent about staying in the city or that employers were discouraged from starting new businesses. In 2013, the D.C. City Council passed the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act, expanding the original law to cover an additional 20,000 tipped restaurant and bar workers.
The Healthy Families Act (S. 631/H.R. 1286) would provide workers with paid sick days to use to recover from illness, access preventive care or care for a sick family member.
Women, their families and our nation urgently need this vital political reform. Jewish Women International strongly supports public policies that strengthen economic security for women, especially those that combat unpaid sick days!
This fact sheet was created with information provided by the National Partnership for Women and Families.