No one should oppose paid sick leave. Why? Because a new report from the Minnesota Department of Health found that the lack of paid sick leave in Minnesota workplaces contributes to contagious disease outbreaks and added employers’ health care expenses.
We must give our workers time off when unwell, a fact that our progressive leaders understand. President Obama mentioned paid sick leave in his State of the Union speech, Sen. Franken proposed a bill to give employees nationwide one hour of sick leave for every 30 they work, and our progressive champions in the legislature have introduced a paid sick leave bill.
The MDH report outlines the shocking truth:
The people who are less likely to have access to paid leave – those with lower incomes, part-time workers, and single parents – are also from the populations experiencing the greatest disparities in health outcomes, including populations of color and American Indians.
Paid sick and family leave lead to positive health outcomes, such as lower rates of on-the-job injuries, increased use of preventive care, less stress, and better maternal and child health outcomes.
The same employees least likely to have paid sick leave or the financial capacity to forego wages are in occupations most likely to have contact with the public, especially food services, long-term care and health care.
This is bad for the employees forced to come to work sick, and also bad for the customers they serve, or the elderly and patients for whom they care.
Paid sick leave could protect the health of workers and those with whom they interact. It’s a common sense solution to a problem that leads to the spreading of infectious disease. It’s time to get this done and pass paid sick leave policies that help Minnesotans.