Earned Paid Sick Days Support Public Health for All Children and Families

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says children and adults should stay home 24 hours after fevers subside. But most workers are not able to stay home when they’re obviously ill, let alone when they may still be contagious despite feeling physically better. In doing so, they put their coworkers, their customers and the general public at risk. Unfortunately, that does not outweigh the risks of losing a paycheck or even a job.

In a 2013 survey commissioned by Oxfam America, 1 out of 7 low-wage workers and 1 out of 5 low-wage mothers reported losing a job because they were sick or needed to care for a family member. Too many workers lose pay and risk workplace discipline and even termination when they take time off, so they often choose to go to work sick. Adults without earned paid sick days are 1.5 times more likely than adults with paid sick days to report going to work with a contagious illness like the flu or a viral infection. Moreover, these adults are also more likely to delay needed medical care which can lead to greater health complications that cost more money.

When working people have no choice but to go to work sick, they risk infecting others and delay seeking care. The lack of earned paid sick days is especially risky in food service and other jobs requiring frequent contact with the public:

  • More than 310,000 people in Michigan work in restaurants, an industry where most workers lack paid sick days. This puts workers and customers at risk for contagious illnesses like the flu or norovirus also known as “stomach flu.”
  • Child care and nursing home workers also often lack paid sick time putting the most vulnerable populations at risk.
  • In 2013, roughly 56,979 people died from influenza and pneumonia.

Earned paid sick days enable working parents to care for children and other loved ones when they are sick.

  • Nearly 1,500,000 children in Michigan live in families in which all parents work, including 2 of every 3 young children ages 0-5.
  • Earned paid sick days keep children healthy, prevent absences among teachers and students, and limit the spread of contagious diseases.
It’s a Win Win

Earned paid sick days benefit our economy . . .

Earned paid sick days decrease unnecessary healthcare costs. Universal access to paid sick days would eliminate an estimated 1.3 million emergency room visits each year, saving $1.1 billion annually in costs to individuals, private insurers, and public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

AND benefit public health.

People who are able to stay home when they’re sick prevent the spread of illness and keep us all healthier.

When parents can take time off, long-term health outcomes improve for themselves and their loved ones.

Having earned paid sick leave for all workers improves the health of individuals, children and families and the public at large. Support the move to secure paid sick leave in Michigan by taking action today! Visit http://mitimetocare.org.