Most people would agree that keeping their communities healthy and safe are priorities. Those goals can be achieved if the public and their elected representatives support policies that guarantee paid sick time to Maine’s many worthy workers.

As an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, I regularly see people choose between feeding their families and receiving needed medical care after an assault or traumatic incident. I see mothers having to choose between paying the rent and staying home to take care of their sick children. I see the worst of what an uncaring, thoughtless capitalistic system can do. Should those individuals, who contribute to the community and have already been through so much, have to choose? No one should ever have to make that choice.

A survivor has some resources, such as victims compensation, but it’s not a guarantee. More importantly, it is not immediate. The rent, the utilities, the food — those are all immediate needs that cannot wait for someone to heal and get better. Passing a bill that guarantees paid sick time cannot wait, either.

Too many citizens do not have the privilege to take time off, even after a traumatic incident such as a violent assault. Paid sick time would benefit not only survivors in Maine but every community member. Paid sick time would lower the risk of the spread of contagious illnesses, protect the productivity of healthy workers and increase income security.

I hope the Legislature passes paid sick time for Maine workers.

Annette Macaluso, Lewiston