An Update on the Movement for Paid Sick Leave

Triage Cancer Blog Paid Sick LeaveThis past Labor Day, President Obama signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to offer workers up to seven days of paid sick time per year.

For some, paid sick leave is something that is taken for granted. Most employers are not required to offer their employees paid sick days. More than 43 million private sector workers (40% of the workforce) lack access to any paid sick time. Many of these workers are low-wage employees who cannot afford to miss a paycheck.

Employers that do offer paid sick days are often going above and beyond what is required under the law, because their workers tend to be more satisfied, productive, and healthy employees. There are also steep costs associated with hiring and training a new employee (estimated at about one-fifth of an employee’s salary), and paid sick leave can help to retain good employees.

Laws requiring paid sick days for employees are few and far between.  Check out the Triage Cancer Chart on State Laws to see if paid sick days (and other legal protections) are required in your state or city.

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On March 10, 2016, Vermont’s governor signed legislation to require paid sick leave, making Vermont only the fifth state to do so. This law goes into effect January 1, 2017. Learn more.

These is also a bill pending in the U.S. Congress right now, the Healthy Families Act (H.R. 932/S. 497), which would give people up to seven sick days per year to recover from their own illness, seek preventive care, or care for a sick family member.

For the cancer community, access to paid sick leave can allow for paid time off for medical appointments, treatment, and recovery. Paid sick leave can also work in coordination with reasonable accommodations, FMLA leave, and other employer benefits.

It is an election year, so if access to paid sick leave is something that is important to you, ask your candidates how they stand on this issue.

Learn more about existing paid sick leave laws and legislative campaigns at the state and federal level.

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