I have worked at a fast food restaurant for three years, and I have a lot to say about the importance of paid sick days. Many of my coworkers work multiple jobs so they can pay for rent, food, utilities and other necessities. They can’t afford to take a day off unpaid. And when they do, many of them see their hours cut or their jobs threatened, impacting their ability to cover costs in the future.

I once saw one of my coworkers vomit, wash hands and continue to work. He needed to stay at work and couldn’t afford to go home because his paycheck would be cut or he feared he would lose hours.

Is that really the world people want, especially for those who work in the food industry? When we aren’t given the time to rest and recharge, we are only going to get sicker. Workers might spread illnesses without meaning to, putting the general public at risk.

I know what it would mean to my coworkers, my family and myself if we had access to paid sick days. No more fear of having to figure out the next meal or how to pay the heating bill. The sense of security we would have with the option to take a paid sick day would be life-changing.

I am excited that the Legislature is tackling the issue this year. I hope representatives pass paid sick day for workers like my coworkers and myself.

Alex Petrovich, Bryant Pond