12 Things You Should Know About Earned Sick Time

No one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck — but it’s a decision all too many low-paid workers are forced to make.

1. More than 43 million workers don’t get a single paid sick day.


2. That includes 80% of low-paid workers, who often can’t afford to take a day without pay.


3. So it’s horrifying — but not surprising — that almost 9 out of 10 food workers say they’ve had to go to work while sick.

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4. Workers without earned sick time are more likely to send a sick child to school because they can’t risk losing a job or not getting paid.


5. All of this is a major risk to public health.


6. In 2009, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported that employees that attended work with H1N1 are estimated to have caused infection in as many as 7 million co-workers.


7. If all workers had paid sick days, 1.3 million emergency room visits could be prevented a year, saving $1.1 billion.


8. Earned sick time also make sense for business. Employers in Chicago alone could save an estimated $116 million annually in reduced turnover, increased productivity, and reduced employee contagion health costs.


9. More than 20 cities and counties — including San Francisco, NYC, Portland, and Washington D.C. — have passed earned sick time laws. Legislation has been introduced in many more, including in Chicago.

10. Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Oregon have approved earned sick time statutes, but there are still 45 states to go! Including Illinois.


11. Legislators from both parties support paid sick days; in 2015, a nonbinding amendment intended to gauge Congressional support passed 61–39 with bipartisan support.


12. The public overwhelmingly supports paid sick days for all workers.


According to a 2015 survey, 88% of voters say they want all workers to be able to earn paid sick days to care for themselves and their family members.

It seems obvious: everyone deserves the chance to take care of themselves and their families, and no one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.

Women Employed is fighting to make sure that happens. Right now, we’re working to pass an earned sick time ordinance in Chicago, but we need you to raise your voice. Visit sicktimechicago.org to sign our petition, call your alderman, and spread the word on social media!

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