CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Paid Sick Days, a Luxury in the U.S.

  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

Most parents in the United States have to work. To be more precise, only three out of 10 children have a stay-at-home parent. But as the recent H1N1 flu outbreak underscored, this can have serious public health implications since many of those working parents simply do not have the right to stay home with a sick child.

“Twenty-two million working women don’t have a single paid sick day. That means they lose money any time they have to stay home to take care of their kids,’’ First Lady Michelle Obama said in a speech on May 7, at the eighth annual meeting of Corporate Voices for Working Families.

Mrs. Obama’s speech came on the heels of weeks of national worry over the possibility of a global flu pandemic. As hundreds of schools closed across the nation, parents struggled to sort out their options. For many families, the best choice was unclear: should they risk their job, or risk having their child catch the flu or spread it to other children?

In the U.S., unlike nearly every other nation, workers do not have the right to stay home if they are ill. Currently, nearly half of private-sector workers have no paid sick days. For low-income workers, the number jumps to 79 percent, and climbs to 85 percent for food service workers.

Read more here

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Beatriz Lopez (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.741.6255 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or