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When You Have Paid Sick Days, But are Punished for Using Them

July 28, 2010
The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) recently released a survey on paid sick days that has people talking. The survey shows that the vast majority of Americans support legislation requiring employers to provide paid sick days. Most people feel that paid sick days are a basic right – the same share as believe minimum wage and overtime laws are important. And they’re right – everybody should be able to take a day off when they’re sick, or when a family member is sick, and not have to worry about losing a paycheck or losing their job. It’s just common sense. As the leader of the Illinois...

My Back to School Checklist: Add Paid Sick Days?

July 28, 2010
The long, lazy days of summer are slowly winding to a close and school supply lists are starting to pop up in mailboxes across NC. In amongst the crayons, glue, and binders our kids will need this fall, there’s the ever present request for Kleenex. If you’re like me, you groan a little every time you see this silent reminder of what else will be coming home from school with your kids this fall. In addition to learning to share on the playground, they’ll be sharing germs with each other and eventually with the rest of the family! Most children average between six and ten colds a year, which...
Beth Messersmith's picture

Tiffany’s Story: Why Having Paid Sick Days is So Important for Her and Her Family

July 28, 2010
Tiffany is an office manager and a single mom. Her 13-year-old son has severe asthma and allergies. At her current job, she receives paid sick days, which she is able to use to care for herself or her son when he has an asthma attack or a respiratory infection. Tiffany is relieved knowing that she can take the time to care for her son without fear of losing her job. Unfortunately, that was not always the case for Tiffany. Prior to her current job, she worked at a number of different companies. Despite her hard work, she was let go from each of those jobs after missing work to care for her son...

The View from Capitol Hill

July 28, 2010
In my job, I get to explain the entire narrative of paid sick days to our nation’s lawmakers and their staff. It’s a rather simple task because most people intuitively get it—and often they have an experience to share. The other day, as I walked into one of the House of Representatives office buildings, I chatted briefly with a Capitol police officer, whom I see whenever I am running in for meetings. After we exchanged hellos, he asked me what issue I was working on. I told him that I was working to help establish a basic standard of paid sick days so that working people aren’t forced to...

A Collective Solution to a ‘Personal Problem’ – Unions Fight for Paid Sick Days

July 28, 2010
When my son was almost 10, I found out I was pregnant with twin girls. I was excited but a little intimidated. I remembered one newborn being a lot of work – what would two be like? I mentally prepared for double the amount of diaper changes, laundry, bottles and child care costs. But what didn’t occur to me until after my return to work was how going from one child to three more than tripled my chances of needing to call in sick. In a recent work week the family cat was diagnosed with feline diabetes, my son got hit by a baseball in P.E. and one of the twins threw up on the other twin’s...
Jenya Cassidy's picture

Decision 2010: The Grassroots set the Pundits Straight!

July 28, 2010
The legislative session is over in Maine. It came to a close in April, and while the session came to a close during one of the warmest springs on record, unfortunately lawmakers legislature left workers out in the cold . That’s because they once again failed to pass L.D. 1665, a bill that would have provided paid sick days for all Maine workers – a vital protection that 36% of the Maine workforce currently lacks. As candidates hit the campaign trail, vying for a seat in the 125th Legislature or executive office, L.D. 1665 is getting an awful lot of attention – and it isn’t all good. While a...

Why North Carolina needs federal action on paid sick days

July 28, 2010
North Carolina workers aren’t alone in their desperate struggle to balance the competing demands of work and family. Half of North Carolina’s private sector workers— 1.6 million to be precise —lack a single paid sick day to care for themselves or a sick family member. Here is the great Tar Heel state, we talk a lot about family values. But when every day, workers here have to risk a paycheck or even their jobs to care for themselves or a sick family member, we’re not walking the talk when it comes to valuing our families at home and in the workplace. That’s why, starting in 2007, a couple of...

Paid Sick Days are Crucial for Direct Care Workers

July 28, 2010
Every day in the United States, more workers than many of us imagine face an impossible choice: go to work sick, or forgo a paycheck and risk job loss or workplace discipline. More than 40 million private sector workers in this country do not have access to even a single paid sick day. And when it comes to personal care workers—those who tend to the elderly and care for small children—more than half (52%) lack paid sick days. The need for paid sick days for direct care workers could not be more critical. With pay rates that average about $10 per hour, every cent earned is crucial to direct...

Where Small Business Prospers

July 28, 2010
Here at the Maine Women’s Lobby, we’ve been researching family leave insurance for nearly ten years. It’s passed in three other states (California, Washington, and New Jersey), and many more are actively working on legislation. Right now, in Maine, when working families welcome a new baby or face a serious illness (think horrendous car accident or cancer) it’s every family on their own. Some may work for an employer who is able to provide them with temporary disability insurance or paid maternity or paternity leave. These are the lucky ones. But, for far, far too many workers, pay is not an...

Why I Need Paid Sick Days

July 28, 2010
My name is Tasha West-Baker, I am 34 years old. I am a mother of three, my kids range in age from 15-10. I am a cashier at one of the largest grocery chains in the United States (Safeway); I have worked for this company for the past seven years, which in the grocery industry is a long time. Thanks to my union (UFCW21) I have good medical benefits and a pension. We are in negotiations right now to protect our health plan and secure that pension. However, one thing that my job still does not afford is the ability to access sick days when I am sick. While the logistics of how our sick time works...

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