By Secretary Tom Perez
on February 24, 2016
Too many workers this morning had to choose between their health and their paycheck. They had to weigh the benefits of treating their cough or fever with the costs of losing a day’s pay or putting their jobs on the line. Without access to paid sick leave, they bundled up, went to work and hoped for the best.
Nearly 44 million workers in the U.S. don’t get any paid sick leave from their employers. That means when illness strikes, nearly 40 percent of private sector workers face a difficult choice: go to work to earn the full paycheck they so desperately need, or make a financial sacrifice – and risk losing their job – to stay home to care for themselves or a family member.
But a lack of paid sick leave doesn’t just jeopardize a family’s well-being and security – it is a threat to public health and just plain bad for our economy. When parents can’t stay home and are forced to put a sick child on a school bus, they endanger the health of their child and other children. When people go into work sick, they risk infecting their coworkers and customers. The lost wages from staying home sick means less money in workers’ pockets to spend on basic necessities, hurting local businesses that depend on their spending.