Friday, February 29, 2008

Support the Healthy Families Act

The American Association of University Women strongly supports the Healthy Families Act (S. 910/H.R. 1542). The bill provides full-time employees with seven paid sick days a year to be used for their own medical needs or to tend to the medical needs of a child, spouse or parent. Part-time employees would receive a pro-rated share of paid sick days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outbreaks of the flu continued to increase in recent weeks, with 49 states reporting widespread flu activity. However, millions of Americans still do not have the option of taking a sick day to care for family members or themselves without putting their jobs, their health care benefits, or their family stability at risk.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of American private-sector workers, including 21 million women, have no paid sick days. Only one in three has paid sick days for doctors' appointments or to care for a child. Low-wage workers are especially hard hit, with three in four workers without any paid sick days. A study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 27 percent of low income workers put off getting health care because they cannot take time off from work, and 18 percent of women at all income levels face this situation.

Half of working mothers, who most often provide the lion's share of family care giving, report that they must miss work and often go without pay when caring for a sick child. With more than a third of Americans already experiencing significant elder care responsibilities, coupled with the aging of the baby boomers, the problem is likely to worsen in the years ahead.

Many of you have already contacted our representative and senators about this legislation. However, until this law is passed, we need to keep the pressure on Congress to ensure that American workers will be able to care for themselves and their families.

Take Action!
To urge our senators to cosponsor the Healthy Families Act, just click on this "Take Action" link and follow the instructions to send a message to our U.S. Senators. If your senators have already signed on as cosponsors, you will be able to send them a message of thanks.

For more information, read AAUW's position paper on family friendly workplaces.

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