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Should Paid Sick Time Be an Employment Standard?

Many of you admit that you go to work sick because you're too busy to miss work, but for 46 million US workers it's not the workload that's keeping them from taking time off, it's that they don't have the benefit of paid sick leave. Advocates of proposed state bills mandating paid sick leave are hoping legislation would expand existing benefits and add new ones.

Come November, voters in 12 states, including California, Connecticut, Minnesota and West Virginia, will have the chance to share their feelings about proposed state laws that would enforce businesses to offer paid sick leave. According to the US Department of Labor, about 80 percent of management-level workers have paid sick time compared to 39 percent of service workers.

Washington DC and San Francisco already have laws requiring paid sick time off, which helps ensure workers can still pay their bills even if they come down with a flu that leaves them bedridden. Workers' advocates believe paid sick time should be an employment standard like the federal minimum wage. Do you agree?


Join The Conversation
kittyhill kittyhill 8 years
Definitely! Far too many people I work with (myself included, I'm sorry to say) come in to work sick. We get some paid sick time off where I work, but it's so little that no one wants to stay home unless they're dying!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
Yes of COURSE! I don't think there's a "limit" to sick time at my office! We get 25 days off annual leave here (excluding bank holidays) and 7 sick days in a row each time you're sick, before you need a doctor's note confirming you're really that ill that you have to miss more than 7 consecutive days of work.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
Wow. I feel lucky. I get 20 days a year time off to use at my discretion. I accrue 13.67 hours a month. And, say i want to take off monday (as I am) if i want i can work up to 7 hours extra within the pay period and only have to take 1 hour of it as time off. I have already worked 5 extra and unfort have done almost all my work for the rest of the month!!! (and next month!) it's going to be a boring few weeks. Guess I will log onto the network for my company and do training...
SDTransplant SDTransplant 8 years
My work has a generous sick leave policy (we accrue one sick day a month), which I'm grateful for because I'm illness-prone.
karisaamy karisaamy 8 years
I work in the healthcare field and my boss refuses to give sick time, he says that we would abuse it, umm hello I see sick people daily.
graylen graylen 8 years
At my company, we get 10 personal days. Those have to cover sickness and vacation. I don't really think that's fair. 10 vacation days is so few anyways, and I'm bound to get the flu, a bad cold or something at least 4-5 a year. That leaves me one week of vacation the whole year. I don't think that makes for good workers.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i thin kthat sick days that are paid is something that's really important. there have been a few times that i KNOW that i got sick from work and if i didn't get that time off paid - then it would have been a mess. i think that there's a limit of what we should expect from our job, however if you want your employees to be happy - little things like letting them know that they can be sick and stay home and get paid for a few days is possible.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
I don't think this should be a "standard". There are many jobs now a days that offer "paid time off" and it is a pool to be used however you want. If a person wants that benefit of paid sick leave or piad vacay, they should look for jobs that offer it, and if they aren't qualified, they should take steps to get qualified. I would rather business spend their money doing other things (like insurance, etc) than ensuring people can stay home when they are sick...and, honestly, this will create more problems. what if a person claims to be sick and takes their sick time, but then runs out? If I go down this line of thinking, "that wouldn't be fair to that person to come in sick regardless so they should have more paid sick time." Most employers will work with you and work you extra for the time you missed anyways.
prettywarrior prettywarrior 8 years
If the states adopt some kind of standard, then businesses will just find a loophole to get around it, like keeping entry-level employees as freelancers or "part-time" like they do now to avoid giving other health benefits like insurance.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
There should be some kind of standard, definitely.
jen1975 jen1975 8 years
Paid sick time is humane and good business practice.
Liss1 Liss1 8 years
I think it should be. My last job had no sick time because my boss said if he gave out paid sick days then people would use it! Well Duh! I hated not having sick time, once i got the flu so bad i ended in the emergency room for dehydration and i was out of work for like a week and half without pay, that sucked. It's bad enough your really sick and then you have to worry about not being able to pay your bills.
sonya-ina sonya-ina 8 years
I think that's a great idea! I have 10 days a year of sick/personal time, so I can't complain. Though, I wish my boss would separate the two and give us 10 personal days and unlimited sick days, ha! Keep dreaming :] I rarely get sick, so I'm thankful for that. I've only used 1 sick day since last November!
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
I think this would help workers who do not get sick time and/or vacation through their jobs - this would allow those workers to accrue the time they worked. So, if they get sick they do not have fear of staying home and taking care of themselves vs. losing a job.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I think there should just be a general amount of time off that is standard...employees could use it for sick days, vacation days, or personal days. I know that's how it is where I work now, but I have known other people who had some strange policies. A friend of mine was pretty sick and took too many sick days, but didn't take all of her vacation days, so she got them paid out at the end of the year. Vacation days had to be approved a month in advance, though, so she couldn't count the sick days as vacation days. The whole thing seemed kind of screwy to me.
lawchick lawchick 8 years
Yes. Maybe not paid vacation time, but paid sick time should be the norm.
amybdk amybdk 8 years
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