Nearly one out of every two full-time workers in Maine’s private sector has no paid sick days. LD 1665, an Act to Prevent the Spread of H1N1, seeks to provide Maine’s workers with the opportunity to accrue earned paid sick time.
Allowing workers to stay home to care for themselves is a public health issue that impacts us all. Most workers who lack paid sick time work in jobs that bring them in close contact with the public. People who work in restaurants, nursing homes and child care centers are among those least likely to have paid sick time. Currently many hardworking Mainers choose to go to work sick for fear of losing pay or worse, their job, potentially passing illness to customers.
Some Maine businesses oppose this bill because of the initial short-term costs. However, providing sick days actually makes very good business sense.
The bill requires the provision of so few earned hours that the cost is minimal. If this bill passed, businesses employing 25 or more people would provide only one hour for every 40 hours worked. Businesses employing less than 25 people would provide only one hour for every 80 hours worked.
Providing workers with earned paid sick time has the potential to promote a healthy work environment and increase productivity.
It is important that the voices of Androscoggin County are heard on this issue. I encourage the public to show their support for paid sick day legislation.
Caitlin Foster, Orono