Thursday, March 4, 2010

Supporting Earned Sick Time is as Easy as 1-2-3: Public Health - Smart Business - Economic Security

(Looking for a fourth reason? It’s good for you and your family.)

What is earned sick time?

We can all agree that when people are sick, they are better off when they can be home or in the hospital, getting the care they need and preventing the spread of their illness. But in Pennsylvania, 46 percent of all workers have no access to earned sick time. So if they or their family members get sick, they are stuck in a no-win situation: work sick, or stay home and lose their pay (and possibly their jobs).

PathWays PA has put together a white paper on just this issue. We have found that earned sick time is good for:

Reason 1: Public Health

H1N1 (swine flu) leads the way among public health reasons to support earned sick time. But H1N1 is only one of the many illnesses spread in the workplace, often through people without earned sick time. 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.

Reason 2: Smart Business

When we talk about earned sick time, we often focus on workers and their families. But the fact remains that earned sick time makes good business sense. Employers who offer earned sick time have higher productivity and employee loyalty, and often avoid costly searches to replace workers who leave the company.

Reason 3: Economic Security

The last thing most working families can afford is to lose a day’s pay. During this recession, families must stretch their dollars even further to overcome rising costs, credit card debt, and unemployment. While losing a job in any economy is bad, losing a job in this economy leaves a much smaller chance of finding a new one. Earned sick time allows families to stay economically secure while they keep their families physically secure.

Do you need another reason to support earned sick time? How about what it can do for you and your family?

When parents participate in the care of sick children, studies show these children recover more rapidly from illnesses and injuries and have better health outcomes. Just having a parent present can reduce the length of a child’s time in the hospital by 31 percent. Also, many child care facilities require that sick children stay home, meaning that they need someone to stay home with them.

For more information, please see our full white paper on this issue.

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