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Paid Sick Days

The Situation

Currently 57% of Vermont's private-sector employers offer NO paid sick days to their workers, leaving over 106,000 Vermonters without paid sick leave.  Workers are forced to choose between paying the bills and taking time off to care for their and their family’s health because they do not have paid sick leave.  Nationally 47% of workers in the private sector are not guaranteed paid sick leave, putting the U.S. behind 139 other countries that provide this basic right to all workers. 

The lack of sick leave forces people to attend work when they are ill or neglect to take care of sick family members because otherwise they will suffer economic costs from missed work and even risk being reprimanded at work.  When people show-up for work sick they harm themselves while presenting a risk to their coworkers and the public through the spread of contagions.  When workers cannot recuperate from illness their productivity and ability to work declines, which hurts both the employee and the employer.

What We Are Doing

The Vermont Livable Wage Campaign (VLWC) is working to improve the present situation and enact change that will provide universal access to paid sick leave for all working Vermonters.  We are working in coalition with other organizations to build a movement for paid sick leave and demand legislation that will protect all Vermonters.  We want all people who work more then 30 hours per week to be guaranteed 7 paid sick days annually and sick leave to be pro-rated for part-time workers. 

  • We are working alongside the Vermont Workers Center (VWC) who has launched a “Healthcare is a Human Right” campaign.  The VWC is working to change what is politically possible for healthcare in Vermont and build a movement to reshape the debate around healthcare.  They are asking Vermonters to take a sick day on May 1st, 2009 to go to the Statehouse and show that Vermonters are suffering under the current system. However, there are around 106,000 Vermonters that don’t have any paid sick days and before they can come to Montpelier on May 1st, 2009 they need to be guaranteed paid sick days. Thus, both organizers from the VLWC and VWC will be working this summer and fall canvassing all around Vermont.  Organizers will be knocking on doors and attending public events to raise awareness about sick days, get petitions signed and get people to fill out surveys about their thoughts on healthcare.  We are collecting signatures for a petition in support of paid sick days that will be given to the state legislature to demonstrate the wide public support.

  • Along with these organizing efforts we will be working closely with the guaranteed paid sick day coalition members, including Voices for Vermont’s Children, to develop a legislative and media strategy to win Vermonters access to sick days. This broad coalition of advocacy organizations, women’s organizations, unions and businesses will bring diverse and effective organizational capacity to the campaign, while allowing for a large cross section of Vermonters to be engaged with the issues.  We want to push for legislation that will give workers the legal right to sick leave.

  • We were able to build upon past work and renew a partnership with the UVM Medical College and a group of 2nd year medical students through a public health project titled "Balancing Health and Economies: The Public Health Impact of Sick Days." This project will look at the public health implications of the lack of paid sick days and the damage done to society by workers not having the ability to take sick leave. This new project follows-up on a Catamount Health Care report-our project conducted in the fall of 2007. We are very excited that we will be tying this secondary project to our own campaign goal of winning guaranteed paid sick leave.

We are very excited about the PSD Campaign, but we need your help, your support, your commitment, and your energy to make this a reality!  If you want to help canvas in your community, organize a forum on paid sick days, or write a letter to the editor contact us, send us an email at livablewage@pjcvt.org or call us at  802-863-2345 x8.

 

Get Involved

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Vermont Livable Wage Campaign
21 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401
802.863.2345 x8 livablewage@pjcvt.org
© 2007 Vermont Livable Wage Campaign

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