It is time for earned sick leave in Michigan

Michigan should enact an earned sick leave law. This would help low-paid workers keep their jobs, increase productivity and reduce employee turnover, and protect the health of other employees and the public.

Many middle- and upper-income workers have the ability to take time off for sickness or family needs. But for many low-paid workers in Michigan, becoming sick can cause loss of money or even a job. It can put a worker in the difficult position of having to decide whether to stay home and lose wages, or to go to work and risk becoming sicker, work less productively and expose coworkers (and in many cases the public) to illness. Parents may feel pressure to forgo needed doctor checkups and medical care for themselves or their children because they cannot afford to lose the wages due to absence from work. They may even send their child to school sick because they cannot afford to stay home to take care of them.

An earned sick leave law in Michigan would require most employers to bank sick time for their workers based on the number of hours they have worked. Several cities and states have already passed sick leave laws and it is time for Michigan to do the same.