Catching up on sick days

Hillary Wicai Mar 13, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: Did you know that nearly half the people who work in the private sector have no sick days? But Congress might do something about this. From our Work and Family Desk, Hillary Wicai reports.

HILLARY WICAI: About 57 million American workers can’t call in sick without worrying about losing a chunk of their check, or worse, their job.

So advocates of paid sick leave are delivering packs of tissues to members of Congress today, the same day that Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts and Representative DeLauro of Connecticut are introducing the Healthy Families Act.

That bill would provide most workers with seven paid sick days a year to care for themselves or another family member, like a sick child.

Debra Ness is president of the National Partnership for Women and Families. She says of the 20 most economically-competitive countries in the world, the U.S. is the only one that doesn’t guarantee its workers paid sick days.

DEBRA NESS: We are a nation that likes to talk about families and values. It’s time that we really put that talk into action. We need to really do some things that support working families.

Business groups have opposed similar legislation in the past. They say employers can’t afford the extra expense of paid sick time.

In Washington, I’m Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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