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Change the Culture

February 7, 2014

I am a full-time student, and I work part time in the service industry, where no paid sick days are offered. It seems to be a trend in the service industry to have no benefits, especially for part-time workers. I continuously witness co-workers coming to work sick because otherwise they will not be paid for that shift. I have also seen workers physically sick, throwing up at work because they could not leave in the middle of a shift. This not only hurts the sick worker, but it can also make anyone they come in contact with sick, including customers. Who wants sick people handling the food you are about to eat? I cannot imagine there is anyone out there who is OK with that.

It seems to be part of the culture of the growing service industry that paid sick days are not included — in fact it is pretty much a given they will not be. We must change this culture of workplaces to assure that every worker has the right to work with dignity and is able to take care of themselves and their families when they are sick.

I am one of millions of part-time workers who do not receive benefits, but part-time workers are still dedicated workers and must be included in the paid sick days bill. Employers find incentives in hiring part-time workers so they will not have to provide benefits. We must not allow these incentives to exist. Every person has a right to health, and every worker deserves to work with dignity. Paid sick days is just one important step to reaching our goal of creating a system that offers universal health care, the right to work with dignity, and one that puts people first.

By Gina Mangiafico in Barre-Montpelier Times Argus: Change the Culture

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