While working in the school system, I witnessed sick kids coming to school, staff (including food service workers) often becoming sick, and kids that needed to stay at school lying on cots because their parents had to make arrangements for their children to be cared for. After talking to some parents, I realized how much they agonize over the choice of losing a valuable day’s pay or staying home with their sick child.
Parents always want to stay home to take care of sick kids, but losing even one day’s pay is a sacrifice that will mean being behind on the bills. This is especially true for single parents, relying on one paycheck.
This scene played out over and over again for the 12 years I worked in a school. Fellow staff members were at risk for any and all ailments that came through the front door, and then bringing it home, where other family members took it somewhere else. Thus a never ending cycle--which could have been prevented by paid sick days. Paid sick days could be some of the best preventative medicine we could have in Vermont.
If paid sick days were in place, it would take care of many problems.
Parents wouldn’t have to worry, and all workers would have the right to a healthy workplace. Healthcare is more than just going to the doctor, it means taking a proactive approach to a problem that we can solve together.
The Vermont Paid Sick Days Campaign will be officially launched Thursday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. at Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex. Coming to this event is a great way to find out more and get involved in this issue that’s crucial to all Vermonters, and eat some great bread!