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As Congress continues the debate on health care, we wanted to take this opportunity to write to you about a related and important piece of legislation: The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 2460/ S. 1152). With public awareness growing about the need for earned time off due to H1N1 and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October is the perfect time to sign on and show your support.
As you know, Representative DeLauro and the late Senator Kennedy reintroduced the Healthy Families Act earlier this year. Under this legislation, workers without earned sick time – who make up nearly fifty percent of the workforce – would have the opportunity to earn up to seven days each year to care for themselves and their families. For every 40 hours they work, an individual would earn 1 hour in sick time. This legislation also includes a provision for families affected by domestic violence to use the time in order to treatment or other assistance.
Children are among the most vulnerable to H1N1, and for all populations, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that those infected stay home from work and school. Yet without earned sick time, parents must make a no-win decision between working sick (or with sick children) or staying home and losing pay or employment.
There are many more reasons why the Healthy Families Act is important:
- HFA Supports Families: parents can use time to take their children to the doctor, especially those newly covered by SCHIP
- HFA Supports Businesses: employers can increases productivity and morale in the workplace while avoiding the high cost of turnover
- HFA Supports Public Health: patrons have lower risk of catching an illness from a sick food handler, child care provider, or health care worker
We know that you are a strong supporter of the families and businesses in Pennsylvania and in your district. We hope you can demonstrate that support by signing on as a cosponsor of the Healthy Families Act.