Paid Sick Days Are Critical for Working Mothers
Photo is of PCSW's Executive Director (at podium) surrounded by Connecticut legislators in support of paid sick days.
This year Connecticut became the very first state to mandate that employers must provide a minimum standard of paid sick days for their employees. It seems that there is a wide-spread movement to enact similar legislation in other states and cities across the country. In fact, just a few weeks ago Seattle became the latest city to enact paid sick leave legislation (joining San Francisco, CA, Milwaukee, WI and Washington, D.C.) and this November Denver, Colorado will be considering a paid sick leave law.
For a wide variety of reasons, working mothers are the most affected by a lack of paid sick leave (in large part because we remain the primary caregivers in our families). In honor of Seattle’s recent victory, along with Connecticut’s big win, here are some quotes from legislative leaders in those states about the importance of paid sick leave legislation.
“Throughout my campaign and now during my time as Governor, I’ve been clear about my commitment to the concept of paid sick leave, and I’m pleased that a reasonable compromise has passed both the Senate and the House. As I’ve said before, this is good public policy and specifically, good public health. Why would you want to eat food from a sick restaurant cook? Or have your children taken care of by a sick day care worker? The simple answer is – you wouldn’t. And now, you won’t have to.” Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy
“Many hourly workers are economically vulnerable and would suffer additional hardship if they take unpaid time off when they’re ill or when they need to care for a child or spouse who is ill. It’s a simply matter of respect for workers, who shouldn’t be forced from their homes when they’re too sick to work, and it’s a matter of fairness, because everyone becomes ill once-in-a-while, and should not be penalized for doing so once they’ve earned a modest amount of sick leave.” Connecticut State Senator Edith Prague
“While the majority of Connecticut employees do in fact have paid sick leave, the common sense option of staying home is difficult, if not impossible, for many working families if they lack access to paid sick time.” Connecticut Speaker of the House Chris Donovan
“Paid sick leave is a progressive measure that is overdue. Many Connecticut families are headed by a single parent and not having paid sick leave increases the stress of choosing between the risk of being fired or recovering from their own illness or that of a family member.” Connecticut State Representative Mary Mushinsky
"Paid Sick Leave levels the playing field in Seattle by supporting public health and economic justice. Seattle residents shouldn't have to choose between staying home sick and keeping their job.” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn
"The bill promotes healthy work environments by establishing standards for paid sick days, ensuring that employers provide a minimum amount of paid time off for employees to take care of themselves or their sick family members. If a child is sick, without paid sick days, a parent must decide on whether to lose pay to stay with a sick child, or send the child off to day care or school, where they may infect other children." Seattle City Councilmember Nick Lacata
“They [individuals living paycheck to paycheck] simply can’t afford to take a day off when they don’t feel well or when their child is sick... When families find themselves making a choice between either working sick or falling behind on their rent payments, the social fabric is damaged." Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess
For more information about various paid sick leave campaigns visit the websites of the three leading National women’s organization’s working for paid sick leave:
For more quotes about the importance of Connecticut's paid sick leave legislation click here.
Michelle Noehren is the Events & Special Projects Manager at the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and is the founder of www.ctworkingmoms.com, an online community for Connecticut working moms. In addition to her career, website, husband and baby girl, she also serves as co-chair of the National Mothers & Caregivers Economic Rights Advisory Committee.