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Every day, working women and men in the United States struggle to meet the dual demands of work and family because their workplaces are without basic family friendly policies. It is long past time for workplaces to reflect the needs of 21st century working families, which for many include the ability to care for children, family members and elderly relatives while also being productive, responsible employees.
The survey results could not be clearer: It is time for policymakers to guarantee access to paid sick days to the over 40 million U.S. workers who currently lack them. Workers should not have to risk their job to care for their families and shouldn’t have to risk their own-well-being—and the public’s health—to do their job.
A new survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and commissioned by the Public Welfare Foundation demonstrates that lack of access to paid sick days has significant negative consequences for public health, health care costs, and families’ financial security.
A minimum paid sick days standard would help to protect millions of working families from falling further into financial crisis during these tough economic times.
Just 11 percent of the workforce has access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent of workers have access to personal medical leave through an employer’s temporary disability insurance program.
At some point in their lives, nearly all workers will need time away from their jobs to attend to their own serious illness, care for an ill or injured family member, or welcome a new child. But in the current economic climate—and without public policies providing job-protected paid family and medical leave—most can’t afford to take the time they need without causing a family financial crisis.
Nearly all workers need to take time away from work at some point to deal with a serious personal or family illness or to care for a new child. Laws providing paid family and medical leave allow workers to meet these needs without jeopardizing their economic security.
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