Preparing Food? Suffering from Flu? Workers Need Paid Time Off

Chrissy Cox left her restaurant job in Richmond, VA, to care for her sister, Courtney, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when a semi-trailer truck plowed into her car. Her sacrifice: nine months’ pay— $16,000—as well as a promotion, a big raise, and a bonus.

Workers like Chrissy can’t count on the Family and Medical Leave Act, which guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for new children, illnesses, injuries, or ailing relatives. And, while President Trump deserves credit for proposing six weeks of paid leave for new parents, his plan fails many of the workers in greatest need:

  • Not Funded: It would be paid for by state unemployment insurance funds, which provide only one-third of a worker’s wages per week. And most can’t provide new benefits without raising payroll taxes.
  • No Leave for Most Caregivers: President Trump’s proposal excludes workers caring for family members and those with medical issues of their own.
  • Preparing Food While Suffering from Flu? In the midst of a flu epidemic, the proposal doesn’t fill the gaps left by companies covering only one-third of their lowest-paid workers. Even when sneezing and coughing but needing their paychecks, only 19 percent of food preparers and 25 percent of personal care workers get paid time off.
  • No More Half-Steps: All Americans need fully funded, across-the-board paid sick leave, as provided by nine states, over 30 municipalities, and every other advanced country.