Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Earned Sick Time is Important to Everyone

Kleenex tissuesWhen we talk about the need for earned sick time, children often become the focus, and for good reason. Children need someone in the home with them, especially when they are ill; they recover more quickly when parents are by their sides; and many child care centers send children home when they are sick to prevent the spread of infections.

As Pennsylvania ages, though, employees with earned sick time will be using it to care for another group – their parents. We have the 3rd largest population over age 65 in the country, just below West Virginia and Florida. As a recent post from MomsRising notes, many of us will be responsible for caring for our parents at some point, no matter how well they are doing right now. The opportunity to earn a few days of paid sick time to use when a parent is in the hospital or needs to go to the doctor’s is invaluable—and too often unavailable, since 46 percent of all workers in Pennsylvania have no access to earned sick time.

The Healthy Families Act would address this concern at the national level, and PathWays PA has teamed up with other organizations to work on the issue at the state and local level. Please take part – you can send a letter to your senators and representative, join us on Facebook to support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia, or become part of our coalition of advocates and businesses working to ensure all Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to earn sick time.

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