Lack of paid sick leave burdens NC families

Over 1 million NC workers don’t get paid when sick or caring for sick children

North Carolina working families could get a bit more job security if two bills filed to give all workers paid sick leave get a fair hearing – and a vote – in the General Assembly.

The Healthy Families and Workplaces/Paid Sick Days Act would allow workers to earn paid sick leave and the Caregiver Relief Act would expand access to unpaid family leave beyond what the Family and Medical Leave Act requires.

Unfortunately, both pieces of legislation have languished in committees since their introduction back in March.

The lack of paid sick leave is a burden to North Carolina working families, Public News Service reports:

State law doesn’t require workers earn paid sick days or receive legal protections when taking extended leave to care for a sick loved one.

Outside the General Assembly Thursday, Jeannine Sato, member of North Carolina MomsRising, was among those sharing their stories about the burden their families face without paid sick time. She says while she is fortunate to have paid sick days, her husband does not.

“There have been a lot of times where if I wasn’t able to take a sick day my husband, if he had to stay home, just wouldn’t get paid and there’s always a risk that you could lose your job,” says Sato. “So that’s a pretty scary place to be when you’re simply trying to take care of your family.”

Many employers object to being required to offer paid sick leave, but who pays the price for not having paid sick leave?

Allan Freyer, director with the NC Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project, says the benefits outweigh the costs.

“Sick workers hurt businesses by being less productive, getting their fellow workers sick and getting customers sick. Providing paid sick leave is common sense good practice for businesses,” he says. “It improves their bottom line far more than the costs associated with having to pay for that employee when they’re out sick.”

Workers with a union on their side are more likely than non-union workers to have access to paid sick leave, thanks to the power of collective bargaining.

The United States is the only industrialized nation without any paid family leave law.

Source: No Paid Sick Days: Stories of the Burden on NC Families / Public News Service