Report

States Lead Push For Paid Sick Days

  • February 13, 2008
  • By Christine Vestal

With this year's flu epidemic in full swing, nearly half of all U.S. workers who fall ill or have sick kids must decide whether to stay home and lose wages or go to work sick and expose others, a choice many say no one should have to make.

Advocates for making paid sick days a basic labor standard say the United States should follow all other developed countries and require businesses to let ill or injured employees miss work without docking their pay or threatening their employment. But businesses argue such a requirement could drive some companies out of business.

Now that Congress has hiked the minimum wage and most states have given workers an even bigger pay raise, sick pay has emerged in national political campaigns as the top issue affecting wage earners. But states aren't waiting for Congress to make the first move.

Come Election Day in Ohio, voters in the all-important presidential swing state may weigh in on the issue if an effort by its supporters ends up on the ballot.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in 12 states and the District of Columbia are expected to consider proposed legislation that would require employers to allow workers to miss a certain number of work days each year to recover from an illness or care for an ailing family member — without a reprimand or lost wages.

Read the full report States Lead Push For Paid Sick Days on Stateline.org's Web site.