Working Mainers need to be able to earn paid sick leave. That leave is an essential part of protecting their own health and the health of everyone they work with.

It’s also essential to their financial security and the security of their families. When someone is ill, it’s sensible and responsible to stay home and not put other people in the community at risk. That increases the time it takes to recover and increases the cost of illness for everyone.

In my experience as a health professional, I saw patients who suffered more serious long-term consequences when they were unable to follow their doctor’s orders to rest and recover from illness or injury, because losing pay or their job was, in their mind, and in reality, worse.

Mainers should not have to choose between paying rent and getting to a doctor’s appointment or resting to overcome an illness or injury.

And the consequences of not being able to earn paid sick leave with many employers in Maine fall on many workers, no matter the size of the companies for which they work.

Also, in the present economy, many Mainers are working two or more part-time jobs just to make ends meet. Most part-time jobs do not provide paid sick leave.

I urge the Maine Legislature to pass the bill that will provide the protection of earned paid sick leave to all working Mainers — for the good health and security of all of us.

Peg Hoffman, Lewiston