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.
Since 2012, seven states, the District of Columbia, and 31 other localities have passed paid sick days laws.
87 percent of private-sector workers in the top 10 percent of wages have the ability to earn paid sick days, compared with only 27 percent of private-sector workers in the bottom 10 percent.