We are pleased that today’s forum focuses on health care, which is one of the fastest growing segments of our workforce. While we recognize that providing flexible work environments for health care workers can be challenging, the failure to do so puts family health and well-being, jobs, and our public health at risk. In the United States today, one in five private sector workers in the health care and social assistance field have no paid sick days. More than half of personal care workers, who tend to the elderly and care for small children, have no paid sick days. When these workers are forced to go to work sick, the fragile health of those they care for — people who are ill, elderly or medically needy — is imperiled.
That is but one kind of harm caused by workplaces that are governed by policies created for an ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ generation that are still in place today. We need paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, and flexible work policies that let workers hold jobs and care for their families.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau has organized an event that promises to shine a spotlight on this critical issue. We look forward to hearing from the diverse and knowledgeable speakers, and to advancing a national dialogue on this issue, which is of paramount importance to the nation."
The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.