Paid Sick Days

Because there is no federal law that ensures all workers are able to earn paid sick days, millions of workers throughout the United States are forced to go to work when they are sick. When someone goes to work while sick, they are less productive, more prone to mistakes, and more likely to spread a contagious diseases than if they stayed home. Lack of paid sick days is a serious problem, particularly for low-wage workers, who are far less likely to have access to paid sick days than higher-wage workers.

State and local laws that grant all workers the ability to earn paid sick days regardless of their job or wage level have provided critical financial security to workers and their families. Access to paid sick days allows workers to rest, get the health care they need, and fully recover from an illness before returning to work. It also allows workers to continue paying their monthly bills, even in the event of illness. EARN groups have researched the impact of paid sick days legislation on workers, businesses, and government budgets, and provided support to paid sick days campaigns in states and cities across the country.

Publications

Hour Crisis: Unstable Schedules in the Los Angeles Retail Sector

The retail sector is an integral part of the Los Angeles landscape with almost half a million
workers in the county, and 147,157 workers in the city. Retail makes up one-tenth of
the private sector workforce in the county and is its second largest employer. Yet more
than half of the county’s workforce earn low wages. In the past few years, local and
statewide policies have focused on transforming low-wage work, including a raise in the
minimum wage, increased worker protections, and required paid time off. Despite the
statewide strengthening of workers’ rights protections, the unreliable hours and unpredictable
schedules endemic in the retail industry mean these benefits become inaccessible
to many workers. In part, the retail industry relies on scheduling practices that are
not good for workers, such as forcing them to wait for their weekly schedules with only
a few days notice. These practices not only undercut workers’ hours and their expectations
thereof, but also their incomes, and can make it nearly impossible for workers to
realize full and healthy lives.

Hour Crisis: Unstable Schedules in the Los Angeles Retail Sector explores worker hours
and scheduling practices for “frontline floor” staff that include salespersons, cashiers,
stockers, and food workers in large and chain stores. We used a participatory and research
justice approach and worked with students, workers, and community partners to
collect and analyze the data. Using mixed-sampling methodology, we collected a total
of 818 surveys. In addition, we analyzed government data and conducted an extensive
review of existing policy and academic literature on the topic.

A new way forward: 10 ways to support Ohio’s working people

State policy can also rig the system against workers. The Ohio legislature has barred local governments from improving working conditions, banned local hire ordinances that help set aside work for local residents, and passed tax cuts that favor the wealthiest Ohioans at the expense of our roads, schools and health care. But there are solutions. We can strengthen Ohio’s working people and create an economy that works for everyone by helping workers to speak up together, raising wages, and investing in communities instead of corporations.

State and federal policy makers can make sure all Ohio’s working people – not just the top 1 percent – can enjoy a decent life free from economic insecurity. Although this is by no means a definitive list[5], this report offers a new path forward with practical policy solutions that can be implemented today.

Your voice, your vote: Paid Sick Days and Family Leave

Everyone gets sick, but more than a million workers in North Carolina have no opportunity to earn paid sick leave, and even fewer can take longer-term paid leave to address a serious health condition or welcome a new child. When illness inevitably strikes, they must take unpaid time off—sacrificing their wages so they can get well or take care of sick loved ones or recover from pregnancy. They may even face retaliation from their employers and could lose their jobs. North Carolina needs an economy that works for all and ensures broadly shared prosperity.

Research has shown that paid leave policies, such as earned paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance, benefit workers, businesses, and the economy as a whole. Providing workers with paid sick days keeps sick workers at home, preventing contagion from spreading to other workers and customers, and giving them the time they need to fully recover and return to normal levels of productivity. In turn, this boosts businesses bottom lines by reducing turnover and the costs associated with training new employees.

Ensuring workers have paid time off to welcome a newborn, recover from childbirth, or deliver extended medical care to a loved one provides yields similar economic benefits, along with keeping new women attached to the workforce and earning higher wages in the years after childbirth than those that don’t. Additionally, providing paid family leave to all workers, regardless of business size, helps level the playing field for small businesses which have often have trouble matching the more generous leave policies of larger employers.