When Ashley's son started going to child care, he started bringing home more than macaroni art and cute little scribble pictures. He also brought home colds, the flu, pink eye, and a weird unidentifiable rash -- all things that meant Ashley needed to miss work to care for him.
"I didn't realize that child care was such a petri dish! It's pretty ironic that my son goes to child care so I can work, but then he gets sick so often and I have to stay home with him anyhow (and then I get sick too)." Ashley explains. "It all starts with just one sick kid. I know that sick kids are coming to child care sometimes because their parents can't take time off work, but when they do, we all end up getting sick and missing work."
Today, according to a just released study by the Joint Economic Committee, more than a third of working women in establishments with more than 15 employees have no paid sick leave. That means they lose needed income, and could risk losing their jobs, if they stay home to keep a sick child out of child care or school, or for their own illness. This problem isn't limited to just moms: Conservative estimates are that 40% of the entire private sector doesn't have any paid sick days.
But that could change! Right now, Congress is considering a bill called the Healthy Families Act, which would give 13.3 million women--for a total of over 30 million people--the ability to earn paid sick days at work.
This is a law whose time has come. Join us in telling Congress that parents need paid sick days to keep everyone healthier.
The Healthy Families Act would do more than help make sure working women have access to paid sick days. The bill would guarantee that workers in the United States at firms that employ at least 15 employees would be able to earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. That's a big deal. Right now conservative estimates are that 40% of the private sector doesn't have any paid sick days. The Healthy Families Act would ensure paid sick days for over 30 million more people.
Child care offers just one example of how paid sick time policies can affect us all. Industries that have high contact with the public, like restaurant and child care employees, are the least likely to have paid sick days policies. Just 28 percent of child care workers in establishments of 15 or more employees can earn paid sick leave today, so it's likely more than just kids who are going to child care sick.