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For families, lack of paid sick leave nothing to sneeze at

Submitted by on Saturday, 7 June 2008 No Comment

Courtesy of momsrising. org comes this addictive little ditty called the “”Don’t Get Sick Game.”"

The object — aim tissues at the sneezing nose floating about your office and hope to block the wafting germs and avoid taking ill. If you make it until noon without calling it a day, you win!

I’m hoping they come up with another version: Keep the guys from getting sick so I can go to work. Little Guy nailed me yesterday for another sick day.

For many working parents, this is no game. I’m lucky enough to have 10 paid sick days a year plus vacation time I can use when those are exhausted. And I have run out of sick days every year since Big Guy was born, not because I misused them, but because little kids get sick. A lot. During his first two years alone, Big Guy earned lifelong membership in the Ear Infection of the Month Club.

Other parents aren’t as lucky as I. They have to take time off without pay, go to work sick or find somewhere to stash their kids when they can’t sneak them past the guards at day care or school.

Here in California San Francisco requires employers to provide paid sick leave. The Assembly has passed a bill that would take the requirement statewide, though the Senate still must approve the measure. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t said whether he’d sign the bill into law.

The Republicans already are throwing out all the standard excuses — workers don’t deserve sick leave because they would abuse it, business would go bankrupt or leave the state if forced to provide sick leave, small firms lack the expertise to handle the additional payroll requirements.

You can track Assembly Bill 2716 here by keying in the bill number. I know I’ll be watching, particularly after such enlightened comments as the ones by one of our local representatives.

Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, told The Sacramento Bee that the bill targets small businesses that are the “”backbone of the economy.”"

“”The message it sends is that the liberal side of the aisle continues to do job-killing bills that drive jobs out of California,”" Berryhill said.

You’re so right, Tom. It’s much better to drive California’s workers into the ground by forcing them to show up when they can barely hold up their heads.

I hope the assemblyman remembers his stance the next time he’s out and about. Under current law, there’s always a chance a sick waitress will serve him or an ailing ticket taker will assist him at the cinema. Unless, of course, he’s in San Francisco.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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