Paid Sick Days: Voices from Ohio
June 2, 2008
Interviews with business owners and employees reveal strong evidence of the need for paid sick days in Ohio. Currently more than 2.2 million Ohio workers have no paid sick days and 3.3 million cannot use paid sick days to care for a sick child or parent. A coalition in Ohio seeks to change that. This report gives a face to the reasons why. Among the stories it tells:
· A now-retired volunteer administrator who used a paid sick day to get a mammogram, revealing a malignant lump – she worked through her treatment and has been cancer free since.
· A restaurant worker who has no paid sick days and admits to working when sick.
· Two employees who confess they’ve driven trucks or buses while sick because they couldn’t afford the day without pay.
· A mother with 17 years of seniority at a Cleveland factory who has a good vacation policy but gets “points” if she calls in sick without giving her employer advance notice.
· A mother who says she gave birth on a Saturday and returned to work without missing a day.
· Two employers who argue that providing paid sick days makes their workplaces more productive and competitive.
· A husband who could not miss work when his wife’s lymphoma required chemotherapy
· A father who, after what he describes as years of steady attendance, had to take unpaid time off for serious injuries, forcing his family to go into debt and seek food stamps and church assistance.
· Several professionals whose supportive policies have helped them meet their families’ needs and inspired deep commitment to their workplaces.
· Two men who felt torn when their mothers were hospitalized (one for heart surgery, one for cancer) and they couldn’t take a day off to assist.
· Widespread support for a legislative standard allowing employees to earn paid sick days.
The interviews reflected what government data confirms – that many Ohio employees (42 percent) do not have paid sick days and that low- and middle-income workers are less likely to have this standard than more affluent Ohioans. Half of those with paid sick days still do not miss a single day of work in an average year and a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that providing paid sick days in Ohio would yield a net savings of more than $1.00 per worker per week.
Read our report – Outbreak in Ohio: Cost of the 2008 Norovirus Incident in Kent
Read our report – A Healthy Standard: Paid Sick Days in Ohio