A man in a business suit blows his nose.
A man in a business suit blows his nose. - 


SCOTT JAGOW: Perhaps you take paid sick days for granted. I probably do. But a lot of Americans don't have them. Today, Senator Ted Kennedy holds a hearing on a bill that would guarantee seven paid sick days a year. Sarah Gardner reports from our Work and Family Desk.

SARAH GARDNER: According to Kennedy, paid sick leave has a "wildfire of support" across America.

But many Republicans and the business lobby are resistant.

Sharon Masling, legislative counsel with Workplace Flexibility 2010, says her group hasn't taken a position on Kennedy's bill, but it would affect many Americans.

SHARON MASLING: According to analyses of governmental data, about 40 percent of full-time workers do not have access to designated paid sick days.

Masling says that goes up to nearly 50 percent when you count part-timers.

Studies show that low-wage workers are most affected by this problem, but many middle-class employees don't get paid sick days as well. Some use vacation days when they're sick. Others simply go to work anyway and risk infecting their colleagues.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner