This morning a public forum on the movement for Paid Sick Days was held at the State House. Bills have been sponsored by Sen. Jehlen and Rep. Khan to make Paid Sick Days available to working Massachusetts residents. As a Co-signer of the House version of the bill, I see the need for Paid Sick Days. This issue is especially relevant in light of the recent pandemic of the H1-N1 (Swine) Flu. With the Surgeon General’s statement that sick people should stay home so as to hinder the spread of the disease, for many Americans this is a catch-22. The lack of Paid Sick Days forces people to choose between money and public safety. This bill which would be modeled after the law put into effect in San Francisco in 2004. The bill proposed by Rep. Khan allowed for all employees (full or part time) to earn one hour of Paid Sick Leave for every 30 hours worked not to exceed seven days of paid sick days a year. These days can be used to care for their own aliments or to care for a spouse, child or parent. Whether they are caring for themselves or another person this protects others from getting sick as well. This bill has the potential to ease burdens on some families and to allow people to fully recover from an ailment not just taking Tylenol to get through the day.
Please discuss your thoughts on the merits of these proposals. For more information go to http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/olse/KeyComponentsPaidSickLeaveOrdinance.pdf for the California version or to http://www.massaflcio.org/paid-sick-days.