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What a Difference a (Paid Sick) Day Makes

Paid sick days for all workers are necessary to help raise healthier children.

I remember the days when I would pretend to be sick just to stay home from school to watch TV and do nothing all day. (Admit it -- you did the same thing!) I also remember my mom telling me that her boss wouldn't be happy if she missed work and that missing a day meant missing pay. She reminded me that the TV I loved watching so much came with an electric bill.

It was fine in those times, when I was just pretending, but when I had a real case of bronchitis and had to spend several days at home, I was scared -- and not only for my health but for the security of my mom's job and the paycheck she was missing out on and that I knew we needed.

Read our statement on the effects of the Affordable Care Act's repeal on kids.

While many of us take paid sick days for granted, millions of families are forced to choose between being able to pay the bills or taking care of a sick child -- more than 43 million Americans, many of whom are low-income workers, do not have paid sick days through their employers.

Paid sick days is a kids' issue -- they're needed to help us care for our kids, reduce family stress, and increase financial security. Research shows that:

  • Parents with paid sick days are 20 percent less likely to send a sick child to school.
  • When their parents are able to care for them at home, sick children get better sooner and are less likely to spread illness to their classmates.
  • More than one in four parents of a child with asthma (28 percent) has missed one of their child's medical appointments because they could not get time off work.

That's why Common Sense Kids Action has given the Healthy Families Act our "For Kids" legislative rating. This bill would guarantee up to seven days of job-protected paid sick days per year for employees in the U.S. in businesses with 15 or more employees. A growing number of cities, at least one county, and five states (California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont) have approved between three and five paid sick days per year for different types of employees. It is long past time to ensure that all American workers have access to paid sick days.

The Healthy Families Act was just reintroduced in Congress. You can make a difference for kids by building support for the bill today.

Learn more about it and take action now, because having to choose between your sick child and a day of pay is no choice at all.

Ayah Mouhktar
Ayah Mouhktar is a Media Studies student at the University of San Francisco. She is interning with Common Sense Kids Action this spring in Washington D.C.