Kirkland-Based Moms Leader: Denying Millions the Right to Earn Paid Sick Days and Ability to Access Health Care Makes the Coronavirus Even More Dangerous
“As a longtime resident of Kirkland, Washington, which sadly is the epicenter of fast-spreading coronavirus in the United States, I am seeing firsthand how a long, slow national emergency is becoming a dangerous, deadly crisis. Because the U.S. Senate and the Trump administration have been attacking, rather than expanding access to health care, tens of millions of people in this country do not have ready access to the coverage and care they need. Because the United States is the only industrialized nation without guaranteed paid sick days, millions of people cannot take time away from work as directed by public health experts if they are ill, or keep symptomatic children home from school, or visit a doctor or clinic without losing pay and possibly their jobs.
“It’s irresponsible to deny anyone access to paid sick days any year. This year, the stakes are even higher. Congress must pass and President Trump must sign the Healthy Families Act. It is shameful that it’s impossible for people to follow the advice of public health experts, which puts entire communities, families, businesses, and our economy in peril.
“It’s past time for all those who have been attacking our health care and denying paid sick time to reconsider their positions, which are putting low-income families, in particular, at grave risk during this health crisis. The coronavirus outbreak makes it even more clear that the moms, dads, families, and businesses of America urgently need paid sick days, and also full access for everyone who needs it to affordable health care and child care, and paid family and medical leave. We also need federal funds made available quickly to support scientists, medical professionals, states, localities, businesses and families in the fight against the coronavirus."
-- Statement of Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, President and CEO, MomsRising
“The facts are abundantly clear and continuing to ignore them would be reckless and irresponsible. More than one quarter of private sector workers – and 7 in 10 of the lowest income workers – in this country cannot earn even a single paid sick day. In total, more than 32 million U.S. workers are without this basic protection. Latinx and Black workers are disproportionately likely to be without paid sick days, as are those who work at child care programs, nursing homes and restaurants. Workers in these occupations are more likely to be exposed to and therefore spread contagious illnesses when they are forced to work sick.
“Our country’s failures to adopt these basic supports put our public health at risk. Couple that with health care that is unaffordable and coverage the Trump administration is pushing out of reach for millions and we have a perfect storm. The best advice from top public health experts cannot help if people are unable to follow it. The time for lawmakers to pass the Healthy Families Act, a federal paid sick days bill, and expand rather than attack the Affordable Care Act, is now!”
-- Statement of Ruth Martin, Senior Vice President, Workplace Justice Campaigns, MomsRising