03/02/2007 11:35 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Tell Congress We Deserve Paid Sick Days

True or False: About half of all private sector workers don't have a single paid sick day.
Don't peek at the answer... think for a bit... Okay, we'll tell you...

A: True. Believe it or not, the United States doesn't have any state or federal laws that require the private sector to provide any paid sick days. The result--too many Americans are forced to go to work sick, to choose between taking care of a sick child or losing a day's pay, or even end up losing their jobs when illness strikes. No one should have to make these impossible choices. In fact, of the 20 most competitive economies in the world, the U.S. is the only one that does not require businesses to provide paid sick days.


Dora, a mother of two from Bridgeport, Connecticut who doesn't have any paid sick daysexplains how the issue plays out in her life, "When I get sick, I've got to choose between losing money, getting others sick, or finding a sitter, which is extremely difficult."

Many millions of people like Dora face this impossible choice all of the time. Nearly half of all workers in the U.S. do not have any paid sick days. And sad to say, among those who earn the least, 76% don't have any paid sick days.

Dora and others recently shared their stories before a Senate committee which is considering a new federal bill to provide paid sick days, The Healthy Families Act. This act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide seven paid sick days for workers. These paid sick days could be used to care for oneself or family members.

SPREAD THE WORD: Passing legislation that gives more working Americans paid sick days is going to take some powerful grassroots support. Please ask your friends to join with us by signing on to MomsRising so we can build a base of support for this and other important issues.
Send an email to your Senators and Representative asking them to co-sponsor the bill.

SEND A LOUD & CLEAR MESSAGE TO CONGRESS: "American workers and families need paid sick days now!" Use our easy link to contact your Senators and Representative today to ask them to co-sponsor the Healthy Families Act. (Just put your name and info into the form on the link, and our database will automatically match you to your elected officials, and provide a sample letter for you to edit and send in one click.) More co-sponsors for the bill translates into greater support and a better chance that it will pass. Please send a message today.

TELL YOUR STORY We want to hear your stories about sick days­, or the lack thereof. Post on our blog!

- Passage of the Healthy Families Act would guarantee 7 paid sick days to full-time workers and prorate sick days for part-time employees. The bill would apply to employers with 15 or more employees. Under this new law, 46 million workers would gain access to paid sick days and 1 million would gain additional paid sick days.

- No or limited paid sick days disproportionately affects working women. Almost half of working women report that they must miss work when a child is sick. And of these mothers that miss work, 49% do not get paid when caring for their sick child.

- Paid sick days are also needed to address increased responsibilities for elder care. Approximately 35% of Americans have significant elder care responsibilities, which require more than 1/3 of caregivers to reduce their work hours or take time off to provide care. These numbers will grow significantly as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

- Our public health is at stake. Many workers who have constant contact with the public do not have paid sick days. For example, 78% of food service workers and 55% of retail industry employees do not have paid sick days.

- Paid Sick Days makes financial sense. According to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the Healthy Families Act would result in a savings (after covering the costs of paid days off) of $8 billion per year. The savings would come from reduced employee turn-over and increased productivity as a result of a healthier workforce.

DON'T FORGET TO EMAIL TODAY: Just click here for a handy pre-drafted email you can edit and use to ask your Senators and Representative to co-sponsor this bill. Let's support Dora and all of the people living without paid sick days!

-- The MomsRising Team

p.s. ABC's evening news program highlighted this issue in its broadcast on February 22.