How do sick days support the public health?
Nearly 80% of food service workers have no access to sick days.
Paid sick days keep workplaces healthier by preventing the spread of disease to others.
- Without sick days, people are forced to go to work regardless of their illness, which spreads public health risks to workers and customers. During the H1N1 epidemic, 7 million people caught the virus from co-workers who came to work sick.
- Low-wage workers – who often work in food service, health care, and childcare jobs – are the least likely to have access to paid sick days. A recent study found that half of the norovirus outbreaks can be traced back to sick food service workers.
How do sick days support businesses and our economy?
When working families have a reliable income that they can count on, regardless of unexpected illnesses, this money flows back into our local economies.
How does earning sick days support working families in Montana?
For a low-income family, going just 3.5 days without wages can cost the same as a month’s worth of groceries.
Sick days help parents remain financially secure while balancing home and work demands.
- Especially for Montanans living paycheck to paycheck, the loss of even one day’s earnings, to recover from the flu or to take care of a sick child, can be devestating to the family’s ability to pay bills.
- Parents with paid sick days are more likely to stay home with a sick child, which helps kids recover quicker, and the more time kids are healthy and in class, the better they do in school. Keeping sick children at home also prevents the spread of illness to classmates.
How would sick days work?
Sick days are workplace protections passed by either a state law or local ordinance. If passed in Montana, a policy would guarantee that workers could earn a few sick days each year. Unlike paid family and medical leave, sick days policies are for short-term illnesses or injuries and would not require the creation of an insurance pool to fund the program.
What are sick days?
Everyone gets sick from time to time. Living in Montana, we know that especially during the winter, a cold or the flu is inevitable. All workers and their families need paid sick days to give them time to visit a doctor, recover from illness, or support a sick child or loved one without sacrificing their wages or their job.
What should Montana consider in its paid leave program?
Montana has the opportunity to learn from other states and consider a program that will provide the greatest amount of assistance to businesses and workers.
- Workers should receive at least 12 weeks of paid leave for: the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, to care for a seriously ill family member, or to recover from a serious illness or non-work related injury.
- Low-wage earners should receive a greater portion of their weekly wages, enabling them to better make ends meet during leave. Benefits could be scaled down as income increases and still allow higher-income earners to remain financially secure during leave.
- Providing a broad definition of family takes into account the varied forms of family in the 21st century.
What does paid leave look like in other states?
Four states have enacted statewide paid family and medical leave programs, and dozens of other states are considering similar proposals.
- These states have created statewide family and medical leave insurance programs, which cover as many workers as possible and reduce individual contributions. The programs are funded by nominal contributions shared between employers and employees.
- In 2015, 23 states and DC proposed similar paid leave bills during legislative sessions.
Don’t workers already get time off when they’re sick or have children?
Only 13 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through their employers.
- Only 13 percent of American workers have paid family leave through their employers, less than 40 percent have medical leave, and over one-third have no paid sick leave.
- In Montana, two out of three workers are not covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Additionally, the majority of covered Montana workers earn low-wages and cannot afford FMLA’s unpaid leave.
- Low-income earners have far less access to paid leave. In 2014, three out of four low-wage earners did not have access to paid sick or paid family leave through their employers.
How does investing in paid leave support businesses?
A statewide paid leave program helps businesses attract and retain skilled workers.