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|Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012|
It’s back-to-school time and across the country, and parents are double checking their back-to-school supply list: Backpacks? Check. New crayons and pencils? Check. Notebooks? Check. Earned paid sick days? Not for nearly 40 million Americans. Wait, back up, earned sick days are a back-to-school essential?
Absolutely! Let’s face it: Kids share everything, especially germs, and especially in school. Moms and dads know this, and want to protect the health of all children. But when working parents are unable to earn paid sick days, they are faced with a difficult choice: Send their child to school sick or stay home with their child and risk losing a day’s pay or possibly even their jobs.
Tell your members of Congress “Welcome back from August Recess – Now, it’s time to help us prepare for the new school year by passing the Healthy Families Act so that all working parents have access to earned paid sick days.”
Earned paid sick days aren’t just a critical school supply; they’re good for the national economy too. Access to earned paid sick days keeps people in the jobs they desperately need. Research shows that earned sick days save employers money because earned sick days far outweigh the costs of replacing workers including advertising for, interviewing, and training new employees.  Additionally, presenteeism, when workers come to work sick, costs the national economy about $160 billion a year in lost productivity. 
Washington, DC, Seattle, San Francisco, and Connecticut have all successfully enacted paid sick days policies. And in San Francisco, a recent survey found that paid sick days have NOT had the negative consequences opponents feared, the policy was easier to implement than anticipated, and employees are not abusing the system - as it turns out, employees are actually taking less than half of the earned paid sick days they earned. 
It’s time to take this commonsense policy nationwide. The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1876, S. 984) would set an important national standard for paid sick days. Its passage would be a critical step toward meeting the health and financial needs of working families.
The Healthy Families Act would:
Allow workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job protected paid sick days each year to be used to recover from their own illness, access preventive care, or provide care for a sick family member.
Allow workers who are victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault to use their paid sick days to recover or seek assistance related to an incident.
Include a simple method for calculating accrued sick time. Workers would earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours (seven days) per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit.
Allow employers to require certification if an employee uses more than three paid sick days in a row. For victims of domestic violence, the certification may be from a law enforcement officer or victim advocate.
Allow employers to continue using their existing policies, as long as they meet the minimums set forth in the Healthy Families Act (for time, types of use, and method of use).
We need to make sure that our elected officials know that access to earned paid sick days are important to our families’ heath and economic security. Earned paid sick days are a no-brainer. Tell your member of Congress to support the Healthy Families Act.
Please forward this to your friends and family so they can take action too.Together we're a powerful force for women and families.
- Ruth, Monifa, Kristin and the whole MomsRising.org team
P.S. Check out this paid sick days back-to-school kit from our allies at the National Partnership for Women and Families. The kit comes complete with sample letters to the editor and elected officials, a set of discussion questions for parents and a survey to assess the impact paid sick days are having on your child’s school and more! http://action.momsrising.org/go/2143?t=8&akid=3477.1976257.CxJ-_r
P.P.S. Read! Check out this powerful blog from Elisa Batista about an immigrant caregiver with no paid sick days. As it turns out, we have a shortage of caregivers for the elderly and many do not have the right to a single day of paid sick leave. Please read the story, leave a comment and share! http://action.momsrising.org/go/2144?t=10&akid=3477.1976257.CxJ-_r
P.P.P.S: Listen! Want to hear a lively conversation about paid sick days? We have a treat for you here: http://action.momsrising.org/go/1989?t=12&akid=3477.1976257.CxJ-_r The "MomsRising Radio with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner" show this week focuses on a lively conversation about paid sick days, or the lack there of, with spectacular guests: Adriana Kugler, chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor; Makini Howell, a business owner who advocates for paid sick days; Marianne Bullock, a mom who was fired when her daughter got sick; Wendy Chun-Hoon, a policy expert from Family Values at Work; and Seattle City Council-member Nick Licata.
 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2010, March). Employee Benefits in the United States: Selected paid leave benefits: Access, National Compensation Survey (Table 6)
 Christine Siegwarth Meyer, et al, Work-Family Benefits: Which Ones Maximize Profits?, Journal of Managerial Issues, vol. 13, no. 1, Spring 2001.
 Stewart, W. et al. (2003, December). Lost Productive Health Time Costs from Health Conditions in the United States: Results from the American Productivity Audit. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 45. Retrieved 22 April 2011
 San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Outcomes for Employers and Employees by Robert Drago, Ph.D. and Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (February 2011)
Thank You For Your Consideration.
If You have as many questions about Social Security as I do, then this is for you too.