I am a retired high school special educator, and my experience as a teacher was that it was often the older siblings who were required to stay home and take care of a sick young child if a parent could not do so, thus missing valuable school time and falling behind in their school work.
To the surprise of many Vermonters, there currently is no state or federal law requiring employers to grant paid sick days to working Vermonters. This means that about 106,000 Vermonters are compelled to go to work when they are ill, or when their children are ill, or lose a day’s pay for each day they are out sick.
Yet, 80% of Vermonters who were polled favor legislation requiring all employers to grant paid sick leave to their workers. As you would expect from Vermonters, paid sick leave makes good sense. These are the reasons:
Workers who lose a day’s pay because they are seriously ill or care for a sick child and have to remain home have difficulty meeting rent or buying groceries, and as a result their families and the general economy suffer;
Parents who have to seek a doctor’s care or hospitalization for themselves or their child may lose their job because of extended time away from work, increasing unemployment, decreasing tax revenue, and further weakening Vermont’s economy.
In Vermont the respect and dignity of a humane workplace for every worker is essential, and paid sick leave is a practical need that we can all identify with, for we have all been sick and we know what that is like. I urge you to contact your representatives and senators in the Statehouse and let them know how important this legislation is. The bill is H.382, and you can read about its provisions at http://www.vtlivablewage.org/sickdayleg.html.