Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Earned Sick Days Provide Women with the Time To Get Better

Women Need Not Only the Tools but the Time to Get Treatment for Breast Cancer – But for Many that is Impossible, as Over 45% of Pennsylvania Workers do not Earn Any Paid Sick Time.

On an average day, 33 women in Pennsylvania are diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of these women work full time jobs where they may be struggling to put food on the table every night. Fighting off a disease like breast cancer is physically, mentally, psychologically, and financially exhausting – even before survivors try to make time to get treatment. For those who work full-time, treatment opportunities may be even more difficult, since over 45% of workers in Pennsylvania do not have any paid sick time.

In a country where one in six workers has lost their job because they were caring for themselves or a loved one, it is no wonder that many women go with out the care they need. When having to choose between losing a job or seeking medical care, many women will choose work over their own health. The industries that are often women-dominated (such as child care, food service, and jobs that pay low wages) are among the least likely to offer paid sick days. For example, nearly three-quarters of child care workers (72 percent) and food service workers (73 percent) lack access to paid sick time. Women in these jobs often cannot take paid time off for treatment or even to get the checkup that might catch their disease before it has time to spread.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please take the time to share your story about either having paid sick time or needing that time to care for yourself or a loved one. To share your story, please contact Kate Scully at PathWays PA at kscully@pathwayspa.org. To view others’ stories please visit the Working Families Story Bank

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplace is working to provide all of Pennsylvania’s workers with a minimum number of paid sick days that they can earn. The workers can use those days to care for themselves or for a loved one. The time can be used in increments of 15 minutes – allowing workers to make doctor’s appointments without having to loose a full day’s pay.

Image courtesy of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pink_ribbon.svg.

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