The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t have a national requirement that workers get access to paid sick leave. The lack of a law leaves nearly 40 percent of Americans without access to leave. But progress has been made at the state and local level: three states — California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts — and 16 cities have passed paid sick leave legislation, covering millions of workers. John Oliver recently had a humorous but thoughtful piece on the subject on his show, Last Week Tonight:
President Obama has proposed the passage of the Healthy Families Act, a bill that would require most employers to give workers paid sick leave. The legislation calls for businesses with 15 or more employees to let them accrue up to seven paid sick days a year to care for themselves or a family member who falls ill. The White House estimates that it would give 43 million workers access to leave who don’t already have it. The leave could also be used by victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to recover or seek assistance.
Unfortunately, such a bill is unlikely to make it through our current congress. Until the political gridlock in Washington changes, U.S. employees will continue to have to struggle whenever a birth or family illness occurs.
Hat Tip: Jon Hyman