President urging seven paid sick days a year

Added January 16th, 2015 by Peter Ruark | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Peter Ruark

Imagine a line cook with a head cold having to turn aside and sneeze every few minutes while preparing your lunch. Or a couple of workers fighting the flu while caring for your child at a daycare center. Or your child sitting in school with a lot of sick classmates whose parents could not take the day off to care for them.

This kind of thing probably happens more than we would like to think, because many workers lose pay if they miss work due to sickness.

Thursday, President Obama urged  Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, a law that would require employers to give their workers at least seven paid sick days each year. He also urged states and municipalities to pass similar laws.

This is good for families and good for public health. As argued in Forbes Magazine, it is also good for business because it helps keep workers productive when they do come to work, by giving them time to recuperate without fear of losing money or even their jobs.

Right now, only three states offer paid sick leave. Michigan is not one of them.

On the contrary, a House committee debated a bill last session going in the opposite direction — to prevent counties, cities and townships from enacting their own paid leave laws. That bill fortunately did not go anywhere, but the fact that a pre-emption bill was introduced shows that paid leave policies are gaining support.

Whether on the federal, state or local level, paid leave policies will help workers and their families and protect the public. Let’s hope that more cities, counties and townships in Michigan will pass paid leave laws as we wait for the Michigan Legislature and Congress to do so!

— Peter Ruark

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