The traditional Father’s Day gifts are a new tie or a set of golf clubs (and those silly cards that suggest all dads care about are wearing ties and playing golf — not true!). But if we really want to thank our dads for all the times they’ve been there for us, then there’s no better gift than one that allows all fathers to be there for their children: a paid sick days law. Although golf clubs might be more fun, what’s a better, lasting gift than giving dads time off work to hold their toddler’s hand at the doctor or stroke their kindergartener’s brow during a bout of the flu?
Every message society sends about modern dads is positive. We want dads to be there for their kids, and yet our public policies haven’t kept pace. Over 40 million workers in the United States — many of them parents — don’t have paid sick days they can use to take care of themselves or their families. They simply don’t have the option of taking time off from work to stay home with a sick child, to take a child to the doctor, or even to take care of their own medical needs. If they take time off, they’re under the threat of being disciplined or fired. And for many parents, that’s a choice they can’t afford.
This Father’s Day, honor your dad by taking action on paid sick days — support the Healthy Families Act or join a local campaign. In a nation that prides itself on family values, we need to do a better job of valuing our families.