Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday to the Smoking Ban - Help Ensure Paid Sick Days is Next

Saturday will mark the two-year anniversary of passage of the smoking ban in bar-restaurants in Pennsylvania. While many bar and restaurant owners feared that the ban would hurt business, many are now in favor of it and some even believe it has helped business.

One purpose of the smoking ban was to help ensure a healthier community by limiting individuals’ exposure to second hand smoke, which can lead to many health complications. Having people who choose to smoke go to a designated area limits everyone’s contact with smoke.

Another policy that could help keep our communities healthy is allowing workers to earn paid sick time. Like the smoking ban, many businesses have been against this policy. Also like the smoking ban, in places where providing paid sick days has become law, businesses are now in favor of the policy as implementation has not hindered business.

As shown by the H1N1 pandemic, individuals coming to work sick or sending their children to school sick because they cannot afford to stay home can endanger the health of our communities and workplaces. Unfortunately, the workers who spend the most time with vulnerable populations – such as food service workers and child care educators – are those least likely to have earned sick time making this policy all the more important.

Help keep our communities healthy by contacting your legislators or writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper supporting a workers need to earn a minimum number of paid sick days.

Image courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rauchen_Verboten.svg.  

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