Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting Paid Sick Time Helps Everyone

By Rosemary Harris Lytle

For most Americans, the Fourth of July is a day for fireworks, concerts, parades and all manner of patriotic displays. It's as American as barbeque ribs and apple pie, reminding us of freedom, justice, community, hard work and family values; the shared ideals that define us as a nation.

While many enjoyed a paid day off for the holiday, not everyone was so fortunate. Paid days off from work are rare. When it's a holiday, at least the time off is taken for fun, but when employees need time off for illness or caregiving, even fewer can afford it.

We all occasionally need time off from work to share the responsibility for our family's health. But nearly 60 million American workers lack a single paid sick day in which to care for themselves when occasional illness strikes. Nearly 100 million lack a paid sick day to care for an ill child.