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Ruth Martin's picture

Over the last few months, we've been asking MomsRising members to send us their personal stories about the need for paid sick days and the response has been overwhelming.

Members from every state have shared their stories, demonstrating the indisputable truth that lack of a rational paid sick day policy impacts each and every one of us.  And a recent poll demonstrates that over 75 percent of the public supports paid sick days. [1]

But polls don't reveal the personal stories behind that strong support, the stories which provide the commonsense and economic reasons for supporting paid sick days policies.  So from the hundreds of stories we received, below are three personal stories from MomsRising members in New York.

In my previous job, I had no sicktime. We had to use our 2 weeks of vacation time, which I didn’t start earning until my 1-year anniversary,whenever I, or my young child, was sick. A week or two before my1-year anniversary, I became sick with the flu. I was out for days. Myboss wouldn’t advance me vacation time to cover the sick days, so I lost pay. This would be a hardship for anyone, and I am a single mom, so it was especially hard. I also agonized over whether to send my daughter to daycare when she was better... but not quite. I would lie awake in the middle of the night with a high fever and stress out because I had to use up precious vacation time. One of the best things about my current job is its liberal sick time policy.– Denise (NY)

I had 3 sick days a year at my old job.It took only 2 months during the winter to use them up, just for my one and a half-year-old son. I had NONE for myself. I went to work four days that winter with a fever of 101 - 103. I couldn’t get better. I finally had to use a vacation day (I didn’t have many of them either) to get to a doctor and buy expensive medicine to flush me out and get right back to work the next day.– MOMSRISING MEMBER (NY)

When my daughter was sick fora week straight, getting her healthy again was my only concern because I had paid sick days. Every parent should have the right to care for a sick child without fear of losing his or her job; and without fear of being unable to pay the bills. Over a person’s working life, the time we need to be there for sick kids is relatively short. Our nation’s employees and children are worth the investment of just a few paid sick days each year.– Tara (NY)

[1.] Testimony of Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, 2007.

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