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Should Paid Sick Days Be Required by Law?
Millions of Americans have to go to work when they fall ill, a phenomenon known as presenteeism. But mandatory paid sick leave is healthier for us all.
Connecticut just became the first state in the nation to require employers to provide workers with paid sick days. The new law — which also allows paid leave for a sick child or spouse — is controversial. Opponents attack it as big government run amok and say it will kill jobs. But it is the right thing to do, both as a matter of humane treatment of workers and public health. And while the law doesn’t cover everyone, it’s a step in the right direction and other states should follow Connecticut’s lead.
Millions of Americans work at jobs that do not offer them a paid day off when they get sick. In the private sector, nearly 40% of workers do not have paid sick leave. Not surprisingly, low-income workers are worst off. Among the bottom 25% of wage earners — those making $10.50 or less an hour — just 33% can take a paid day off when they are ailing.