Wow. H1N1 is on moms' minds. Over 33,000 people signed on to the petition we sent around last week, agreeing that: "The United States needs to allow all working people to earn paid sick days to ensure our economic security, and protect public health."
The leaders of our nation are working hard to prepare schools, parents, businesses, health professionals, and the entire country for this year's flu season and H1N1. But if families are forced to choose between paying their bills and showing up sick at work, the flu response plan will be on thin ice.
Want a chance to tell our leaders, in your own words, what you think about H1N1 and preparing for the fall?
Tell us what you think about H1N1 here: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1768/questionnaire.jsp?questionnaire_KEY=839
Next Tuesday, MomsRising will be in Washington, D.C. and we want to bring your questions, experiences, and concerns directly to the people who have the power to address these issues - our representatives in Congress.
Some studies predict that 30-50% of us may contract H1N11, and others of us will catch the seasonal flu. We also know that less than 50% of us who work in the private sector have access to any paid sick days at all 2. Without paid sick days, and with a full quarter of families with young children living with extreme financial hardships, a huge portion of our population doesn't have a choice but to go to work sick so they don't lose a day's pay--or even to lose a needed job. And, 80% of low wage workers don't have access to a single paid sick day.
Lacking paid sick days is not only really hard on individuals and their families, it also has health consequences for the general public. We all want people who are sick to be able to stay home so that they, unintentionally, will not get others in their community sick as well.
This, and other concerns you have about the flu, are exactly the messages our leaders need to hear--and they need to hear it from you.
Share the message you'd like us to carry to our leaders about H1N1. We need to help them understand the real needs of parents and children now, and in all times of illness.
We'll be compiling your comments, questions, reactions, and recommendations to deliver to leaders in Congress next Tuesday to share with them what parents are really thinking -- and what we really need -- to help stop the spread of H1N1 as well as other communicable diseases and future public health emergencies.