With outbreaks of a potentially pandemic swine flu spreading across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control gives some logical advice: if you are sick stay home from work to avoid infecting others. Staying home from work, however, is not an option for the 46 percent of Pennsylvania workers who have no opportunity to earn sick time.
Ironically, the workers who most come in contact with the public are those least likely to have paid time when they are sick. 92 percent of wait staff and 79 percent of child care workers cannot earn paid sick days. These individuals go to work sick, risking the spread of infection to others, because they currently have no other option.
PathWays PA serves more than 6,000 women, children, and families in the Greater Philadelphia area, many of whom struggle to support their families. In this recession, no one can afford to lose even one day’s pay to stay home when ill, but when infection is spreading, no one can afford to work either. To combat this dilemma, we in Pennsylvania and across the country need a minimum standard of earned sick time for workers.