R U 4 Paid Sick Days?
This week, workers all across the country will be tweeting that question to candidates for office at all levels, asking them to support this basic workplace standard or explain why they will not. At a time when more than 40 million hardworking Americans can't earn any paid sick time to use when they get stomach flu or need a medical test -- and millions more can't earn paid sick time to care for an ailing child -- it's a question we all need answered.
Right now in the United States, more than 40 percent of the private sector workforce -- and more than 80 percent of low-wage workers -- cannot earn a single paid sick day, no matter how many years they have been on the job, no matter how good their work.
We all pay a price for that. Nobody wins when restaurant workers with flu handle our food, nursing home staff report to work with strep, and sick children go to day care and infect other kids.
Paid sick days are essential to families' health and economic security. It's time to end the days when we force workers to either work sick or lose pay or their jobs - when parents have to choose between their jobs and sending sick children to school or child care.
Laws that let workers earn paid sick days are immensely popular. They are good for workers, families and businesses. They protect the public health. And they strengthen our economy. Laws that guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick days are common sense, win-win advances the country needs.
But right now, these laws are the exception rather than the norm. Paid sick time laws are on the books -- and working well -- in San Francisco, the District of Columbia, Connecticut and now Seattle. But progress elsewhere has been stalled and, at the federal level, Congress has failed to make the issue a priority by passing the Healthy Families Act, which would guarantee workers the right to earn seven paid sick days a year.
It's time to speak out and ask all candidates to tell us where they stand. That's why the National Partnership is launching "seven days for sick days" on Twitter. Starting today, we're using Twitter to ask candidates across the country: #RU4paidsickdays?
Joined by our allies who represent moms, workers, women, seniors, businesses, LGBT families, Latinos and others, we're asking candidates to go on record in support of paid sick days. I hope you will join us. To make it easy, we've created an interactive map with a built-in custom tweet for candidates in every congressional district. It's now as easy as click, click, click to ask your candidates #RU4paidsickdays?
Today is also the start of National Work and Family Month, when we recommit to building the kind of family friendly nation we all need. So join us, today, and throughout the week by using Twitter and other social media to ask candidates in your state to speak out on this issue.
Cross-posted from the Huffington Post. Debra L. Ness is the president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.