In rolling out the issues he hopes will define the final two years of his administration, President
In fact, California got there first. Under the state's Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, as of July 1 employees who work at least 30 days in a calendar year must be offered one hour of sick pay — up to 24 hours total — for every 30 hours worked. (The president's proposal is more ambitious.) And the State Disability Insurance program's Paid Family Leave, which was first offered more than a decade ago, seems to be working well. It pays 55% of lost wages, up to about $1,100 a week, for a maximum of six weeks for new parents or people taking time off work to care for ailing relatives. The program is funded through workers' payroll deductions.
Instituting sick leave for workers nationwide makes sense: Those who are ill should not have to choose between recuperation and a day or two of pay. It's true that allowing workers to accrue paid sick days could add to employers' costs of doing business depending on how it is financed, but the public good outweighs that concern — especially when workers come in close contact with others as part of their job.
The president is asking
The United States lags far behind the rest of the industrialized world in recognizing that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and that mothers, especially, often sacrifice income and in some cases careers for the sake of family. If we are a nation that values families, our work policies should reflect that.