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Don’t punish people for getting sick!

June 11, 2010

Via MomsRising:

We’re moms and dads. We know firsthand how fast the flu travels through our workplaces, schools, and child care centers. We’ve been up at 3 am half-focused on caring for a sick child and half-focused on the related “what ifs?” What if I send her to school sick? Will she get worse, or get others sick? What if I stay home from work with her tomorrow? Will I lose a day’s pay, or even my job? So, we totally get the need for paid sick days. But over 50 million of us aren’t allowed to earn them. [1]

Meanwhile, our elected officials don’t get it – and, not surprisingly, most of them already have paid sick days.

Let’s show our elected officials how important the right to earn paid sick days is for moms and families: Share how having paid sick days has helped you or your business–or share how NOT having paid sick days has impacted your life: http://bit.ly/d0r5MF

MomsRising will compile your experiences into a book and then we’ll deliver that book to members of Congress and other key policy makers for their summer reading along with the message that passing paid sick days is a small thing they can do which can have a big impact on our families’ economic security.

Why are paid sick days so important? Just ask these MomsRising members:

“Because I work 32 hours a week, I am not eligible for any health care, vacation days, paid holidays, or sick days. Therefore, I work when I’m sick, and send my kids to daycare when I think they might be getting sick or before they’re all better, because otherwise I don’t get paid.” –Brooke, MI

“I am a stay at home mom of 3 little ones. My two year old child has leukemia. My older kids’ teachers and nurse call me and let me know what is going around school because staying healthy is so important in our house. Many parents send their kids to school sick-which can result in sickness in our house and put the baby at risk for hospitalization. I do wish people could keep their kids home but understand why they can’t. As a former teacher, I know this also happens to even the teachers not being able to take off work for their own sick child. Everyone benefits if we can take better care of our families.” – Cindy, MO

I don’t know what I would do without paid sick days. My husband lost his job 6 months ago and as the sole wage earner in our family, I would not be able to afford losing a day’s wages by staying home if sick. Our children are grown and on their own, but we have parents that need our help with getting to doctor’s appointments and such, and having paid sick leave available allows us to help take care of ourselves and our families. – Ann, CA

Tell us about what’s happening in your life so we can share your experiences with Congress.

Just finish one of these two sentences: “I need paid sick days because…” or “Without paid sick days I wouldn’t be able to…” here: http://bit.ly/d0r5MF

Paid sick days are good for working families, for public health, and for business. Paid sick days would help contain health care costs through prevention, early detection, and treatment of illness. With paid sick days, families will not be forced to send sick children to school where they will likely infect classmates and teachers; workers with paid sick days would not spread illness to their coworkers and customers. Providing paid sick days turns out to be smart business too because it increases employee morale, productivity at work and reduces costly turnover.

Everyone gets sick. When we’re worried about our kids’ health or our own health, we shouldn’t also have to worry if we’ll still have a job when we get better.

Share your thoughts and experiences now, and we’ll put them all together in one book to educate policy leaders about what’s really going on in our nation: http://bit.ly/d0r5MF

Thank you for all that you do!

[1] Institute for Women’s Policy Research. 2010. “Paid Sick Days Can Help Contain Health Care Costs.” http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/B291HCCosts.pdf

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