This letter was published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Thank you for the news story "Survey: Two-thirds of restaurant employees come to work sick" (Oct. 26 and TribLIVE.com).
In Pennsylvania, more than 45 percent of workers (including restaurant workers) do not have the opportunity to earn paid sick time.
The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is working to pass legislation to ensure all Pennsylvania workers have the opportunity to earn a minimum number of sick days to care for themselves or loved ones. Under this legislation, workers could earn up to six and a half such paid days per year.
When workers without sick time become ill, they have to choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). Not surprisingly, many choose their jobs over their health. Yet when they have access to sick time, their productivity increases and they are much less likely to spread illnesses to co-workers and the public.
Everyone gets sick, but not everyone has the time to get better. Please support earned sick days for all workers to improve public health, worker productivity and economic security for working families.
The writer is president and CEO of nonprofit PathWaysPA (pathwayspa.org), a lead organizer of the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces (earnedsicktime.blogspot.com).