Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

America’s Part-Timers Deserve Sick Days Off, Too

By the end of this year, workers in seven states and the District of Columbia as well as those in more than two dozen cities will have guaranteed access to paid sick days, joining a handful of areas, including San Francisco and Connecticut, that have made it the law to provide millions of workers with the security of knowing their pay or job is not at risk if they or their child fall ill. Such policies gained traction during the past three years, but recently an unlikely source is moving to stop that progress. The HR Policy Association – a trade group of chief human resource officers from multinational companies – asked Congress to shield employers from paid sick day laws.While the majority of large US corporations offer paid sick leave, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 36% of workers don’t have such protections. Employers may provide paid sick days to workers they care about retaining, but that leaves many behind.

Who exactly? More than half, 70%, of part-time employees go without paid sick leave. What’s more, 61% of low-wage workers aren’t paid if they take a sick day off, while 42% of those who work in retail lack access to paid sick days. It’s even worse in the hotel and food services industry, as a whopping 69% don’t have even one day they can use when sick without losing pay.

So just as more cities and states create laws to protect employees who fall ill from work, some companies are asking Congress to exempt them from these laws, saying that their firms already provide generous leave benefits and so they “should have safe harbor” from state and local mandates. As the data show, this means leaving millions of employees that do not meet their company’s definition of ‘talent’ with no paid leave benefits at all.

And just because a company says they offer paid sick leave, not all employees are treated equal. Research that I conducted with Professor Ruth Milkman at the City University of New York found that while 87% of employers in New York City provided paid sick days to workers, only 58% provided these leaves to all of their employees. The 42% that denied paid sick days to some categories of employees tended to exclude workers employed less than full time. If Congress passes a national safe harbor law, employers would receive immunity from prosecution under the city’s paid sick days law.

What’s interesting is that this and other research we conducted with employers shows that it is relatively easy for companies extend paid sick leave to part-time employees. Workers typically view these paid days as a form of ‘insurance’ and tended to save them for when they might really need them, according to employers we surveyed. Abuse, they reported, was rare, as a large share of workers used no paid sick days at all in the previous year. And among those that did use them, most used less than the five paid days they had available, suggesting that the one-time cost increases associated with paid sick days mandates were relatively small.

The Trump administration must make it clear that there can be no safe harbor for employers. Access to paid sick days must be available to all workers, not left to employers’ determination of who deserves paid time to care for themselves or a loved one.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.

More articles by:
October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail