Paid Sick Leave Takes a Big Step Forward in Congress

As the country considers how we might reform our health care system, it is important to note that good health requires not just health insurance, but also the flexibility to care for oneself or one's family when sick, and to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases through the workplace.  Today, Senator Ted Kennedy and Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced a bill, dubbed the Healthy Families Act, that would guarantee American workers up to 7 paid sick days each year, and allow workers to take these paid sick days to care for ill family members.

As the New York Times reported:

The bill, the Healthy Families Act, would be binding on employers that had 15 or more workers. It would guarantee employees one paid hour off for each 30 hours worked, enabling them to earn up to seven paid sick days a year. They would be entitled to claim their days when they or a child, a parent, a spouse or someone else close to them became ill. [...]

The legislation’s preamble notes that nearly half of private-sector workers and three-fourths of low-wage workers do not receive paid sick days. Far too often, advocates say, such employees feel compelled to go to work even when ill, because they fear being fired or at the least losing the day’s pay.

The bill is perhaps mislabeled, and might be instead called the Healthy Workplace Act.  As one small business owner who has provided paid sick days since 2006 noted, having contagious workers come in can lower productivity as they spread the illness to others in the workplace.  “'A person is not coming in sick, and then two days later there are two employees not coming in, and then three days later three employees not coming in,' [Madison, WI coffee shop-owner Lindsey] Lee said. 'It has helped in the long run.'”

The United States is currently the only industrialized nation that guarantees no paid sick leave.

Read more at The Opportunity Agenda's website.

Tags: human rights, immigration, jobs, Labor, Opportunity (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

are these people high?
there are 50 million Americans without healthcare and unemployment is worse than it has ever been and THIS is what they decide to do for the "little people"?
The utter arrogant out of touchness of it all amazes me.
by Teacher1956 2009-05-22 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: are these people high?

No one can disagree with you that the problems out there are not great. But in contrast to legislation like single payer health care, this small addition to the liberal-socialist agenda is welcome. You take what you can get.

And I'm so glad to see Ted Kennedy back in the mix of things, if in this small way.

by MainStreet 2009-05-22 06:03PM | 0 recs
obviously you just came to this country

since you don't know of kennedy's work on health care.

by John DE 2009-05-22 06:16PM | 0 recs
why doesn't he support single payer?

they killed it with clinton-lite and (I hate to say this) lies in 1993, and we had to wait 15 years.. for what, Obama?

SO, now the "debate" is staged and fake, and the "solution" thats being put forward is not mathematically sound, BUT we are being told that it is,

Public optional is basically the same weapon that was used by cooper and I think also kennedy to axe the only unversal health plan that been proposed to date with teeth in it.. in 1993..

They were so scared they concocted up clinton-lite.. in 1993, with the idea of
having an excuse to support something- Anything else.. sound familiar?

I think the consensus now in retrospect even in the business community is that clinton-lite
was NOT designed to work..just to kill universal health care..

What's the deal with Kennedy? I think he has to do much more to make up for his involvement with the sordid UHC killers in 1993.

Obama does too, he HIRED them in 2007

The problem Mr. Obama, is, millions of Americans expect REAL change, not just change for the very poorest or very richest, change for THEM.

SHAME ON YOU

by architek 2009-05-22 08:10PM | 0 recs
Really now

accusing Kennedy of killing UHC is damn near heresy. Healthcare advocates don't have a better friend.

Why didn't YOU support single payer last year?

by DTOzone 2009-05-22 09:28PM | 0 recs
Re: why doesn't he support single payer?

I don't necessarily disagree with you. I'm pissed as well.

But we have to give some leeway here for the fact that Congress seems to be in the pocket of the medical insurance companies and industries, even the AMA. That seems to be what is keeping single payer off the possibilities for play in the universal system Obama wants. I do believe that he ultimately wants single payer.

I think that maybe we will get there eventually through the Medicare alternative.

by MainStreet 2009-05-23 10:19AM | 0 recs
This garbage that

single payer advocates are being shut out needs to stop.

Gerald Shea of the AFL-CIO testified in front of the same committee where protestors were arrested for saying there was no one there advocating for single-payer.

Shea actually did advocate for single-payer; saying; "If you're going to do radical change, single payer is the way to go"

by DTOzone 2009-05-23 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: why doesn't he support single payer?
nearly half of private-sector workers and three-fourths of low-wage workers do not receive paid sick days
I am sorry, maybe you missed this little part of it.
by selfevident 2009-05-23 12:20PM | 0 recs
WOW....

This would be big..

The US is the only country that I know of that doesn't already have vacations and paid sick leave..

Even China and North Korea do!

ugh

by architek 2009-05-22 05:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Bon Voyage!

 Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

by QTG 2009-05-26 02:33AM | 0 recs

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