38 percent of American private-sector workers do not get paid sick days at work.
The United States stands alone among rich countries in not guaranteeing paid sick leave as a right of employment.
But it isn’t just rich nations that offer this right. On the shores of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, Haiti, workers are guaranteed 15 days of paid sick leave. In Nigeria, a country wracked with unrest, the “labor code requires employers to provide employees up to 12 days of paid sick leave a year.”
Why is that all the world’s comparably rich nations and many of its poorest guarantee paid sick leave but the United States does not? Powerful corporations lobby government officials to kill any legislation to guarantee paid sick leave. When Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in 2009 introduced a bill called the Healthy Families Act that would have required businesses that have at least 15 employees to offer some paid sick time to their employees, the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, the American Hotel and Lodging Association and others signed up in opposition. The bill never moved forward. In 2011, , the local chamber of commerce worked with restaurants and business-backed tourism groups to finance a propaganda campaign in against Denver, Colorado’s paid sick leave referendum. Voters were scared off, and the referendum was defeated.
But there is hope for progressives who think the United States shouldn’t be playing catch-up with countries like Haiti and Nigeria. Last year, Connecticut became the first state in the country to guarantee paid sick leave to some of its workers. And pressure is mounting on New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to allow a vote on a paid sick leave policy for her city. Join our campaign to ask Quinn to hold a vote by using the link at the top right.