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Twenty-three percent of American adults report that they have lost a job or have been threatened with job loss for taking time off due to illness or to care for a sick family member. The potential to lose a job is even greater, and the consequences more dire, for the 40 million private sector workers (39 percent of the private sector workforce) who do not have access to paid sick leave.
The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1286 & S.631) was introduced in March and was referred to committee in both the House and Senate. This legislation would provide 90 percent of the private sector workforce—an additional 30 million workers—access to earned paid sick leave.
The Healthy Families Act would require businesses with 15 or more employees to provide earned paid sick time at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours (7 days). This time could be used by the employee to recover from illness, for medical appointments, to care for a sick relative, or to attend to issues resulting from domestic or sexual violence. Employers would have the right to request certification from a doctor (or in the case of domestic violence, a law enforcement or victim advocate) to confirm valid absence.
In addition to helping workers, this legislation would also help employers and communities. Countless studies have proven that there are significant business (increased productivity, lower healthcare costs) and public health interests in providing paid sick leave.
Far too many Americans are forced to choose between financial stability and their own health and safety, or that of their families. Urge your legislators to co-sponsor and support the Health Families Act of 2013!
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