So says my friend, Doug Hall, very eloquently, here. He writes:
One significant reason to pass paid sick leave legislation is that failing to do so further exacerbates disparities based on income. The Economic Policy Institute shows in stark terms that “rich people have paid sick days [while] poor people do not.” While only one in five (20 percent) of private sector workers in the bottom 10 percent of wage earners has earned paid sick time, nearly nine in ten (87 percent) of top-five wage earners have earned paid sick time.
United States Lags World in Paid Sick Days for Workers and Families (small pdf from CEPR that is missing from the EPI resource Hall links to at “shows in stark terms”. CEPR’s “No Vacation Nation” data, which has nothing to do with sick leave, is, for some reason, included instead.)
National standards are needed, in my opinion, to ensure paid sick/safety leave benefits actually reach all low income private industry workers. (Rhode Island’s H7663 appears to be a good blueprint for that.)
I get a little queasy about characterizing private industry workers fortunate enough to have decent wages and some sort of sick leave benefits as “rich people.” But that’s just me, I suppose. When I hear rich people? This usually pops into my head first.
(Thanks for the giggle on that last link.)
Doug Hall is going to Skype into my senior seminar (reporting on and writing about poverty) later this month and I’m very excited about that.
He and EPI do important work.
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