Who we are
Sick days Ohio is all about the people that should be paid the money they deserve. Did you know that at this point only two states in U.S. that make it mandatory for employers to provide at least a few days each year for sick days of their employees? And Ohio is not one of them.
Does that seem right when federal government employees get 14 days of paid sick days annually?
Paid sick days are not a privilege in today’s day and age. It a human right.
Our goal is to raise awareness and report until the day Ohioans earn their well-deserved paid sick days.
How did it all start?
Getting paid for a sick leave is incredibly important for an employee to feel secure in their workplace. In the short-term companies may see it as expense but paid sick days does save tens of thousands of dollars. Annually.
If an employee feels sick but knows he doesn’t get paid, it may force him or her to go to work anyway. Not only, in a likely event, the performance of this employee will drop significantly, they can spread the virus in the workplace and more employees would get sick.
Naturally, company is much better to take care of the sick employee immediately than risk the disease to spread and cause results drop. And that’s just the most basic, apparent reason not taking into account as employee attitude, motivation and many other things.
Unfortunately, not everybody thinks this way. On the contrary, many people that are in charge of these decisions think that working Americans don’t deserve to get paid for their sick days. Even worse is the fact it’s the case not only in Ohio but all over the U.S.
Only two states in U.S. currently pay for sick days – Connecticut and California and that is only since August 30, 2014 when California joined the party. But we are glad to say that finally the things are moving forward all across U.S. Or are they?
Ohioans for Healthy Families
Over 10 years ago Ohioans from all industries and walks of life came together for one cause. Everybody volunteered to raise awareness, help collect signatures for the petition. Ohioans worked with over two hundred other non-profit organizations from all across U.S. and beyond. They all have one goal that they fight for to this.
In 2008 Ohioans for Healthy Families presented the Ohio Healthy Families Act.
Ohio Healthy Family Act
Ohio Healthy Family Act is the most important piece of legislature as far as Ohio paid sick leaves are concerned. It states that employers with 25 or more full-time employees would be required to provide 7 paid sick days in a year for their full-time employees and proportional number of days for part-time employees.
In cases where employee schedule varies, paid sick days should be calculated depending on the last 12-weeks of work before going for the sick leave. The act states that an employee can use these sick days when he or a member of his family (child, parents and in-laws or spouse) for following reasons:
- a physical illness;
- a mental illness;
- medical condition;
- medical diagnosis;
- preventative care.
Also, if the employee doesn’t use their sick days, they could be carried to the next year.
That’s not a lot. But even 7 days of paid sick leave has been a struggle to legislate. For years now Ohioans for Healthy Families have been lobbying for this act to be added to the government schedule, voted on but as you see, this has been a real struggle.
The Healthy Families Act is crucial for any state as it ensures that the working-class can earn their well-deserved sick leave. Ohio had the opportunity to become the pioneer among U.S.
Paid sick Days in U.S.
2008 was the closest year when Ohio Healthy Family Act could have been legislated. 12 states joined the race of legislating paid sick days however up until today there are only two that mandate employers provide their workers with an opportunity to earn paid sick leave – Connecticut and California.
In 2010 Connecticut, Working Families led a campaign and helped the state to pass a bill stating that employers with 50 employees or more have to provide their employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.
California became the second state to guarantee employees in the state can earn at least 3 paid sick days per year. They have done so just recently, August 2014. Strangely, not everyone is included. The recently passed bill does not apply to care-givers working with elderly and disabled.
Ohio was close, too. But that was a very long time ago, back in 2008. More about that later. The point is it doesn’t matter whether it’s 2004 or 2015, there are endless benefits in introducing paid sick days. But while the most of the civilized world agrees it’s a basic human right, the U.S. seems to be moving in a complete different direction.
Like always, people want at least a few paid sick days, while the government is determined to stop it from happening.
There have been numerous debates and polls all throughout the recent years. They all show staggering results:
- 86% people favor paid sick day policy
- 77% of people say paid sick days as “very important”
- 46% of people would likely to vote for a candidate who supports paid sick days
And yet, legislation has been a struggle for so long. Yes, some U.S. cities and counties such as Washington D.C., Seattle and San Francisco have legislated paid sick days. But that’s nothing compared to 10 states that have passed preemption laws forbidding any locality in the state legislate paid sick days on their own, 7 of these states (Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee) passed preemption laws just recently while four years ago there was only one state to have these laws - Georgia .
Struggles of Macau dealers for paid sick days
Unfortunately, paid sick leave is not a local problem but a worldwide one. For example, for months now casino staff in Macau have been protesting for better social benefits. At the moment casino staff is entitled to 6 paid sick days in a year. However, recent protests resulted in Macau’s casino market leader, SJM Holdings, changing paid sick leave policy to be applied only with a note from casino’s pre-approved list of doctors. Naturally, the decision has caused more worker protests.
Making the 2008 ballot
Things finally getting better. Or so it seemed. As we mentioned above, the closest Ohio was to having a paid sick leave legislation was in 2008. Then Ohioans were hoping to put Ohio Healthy Families Act for the November 4 ballot.
We are sure, Ohioans would vote yes if given the chance. Unfortunately, they never got to vote. The act was removed from the ballot as a request from Service Employees International Union District in hopes that federal legislation was coming soon.
As we can see now, it was not to happen. What’s next for Ohio Healthy Families Act?
It’s really hard to day. Ohio hasn’t shut its doors for legislation but currently there’s very little that can be done to introduce paid sick days for Ohioans. The reason for that is that most of the points from the opposition in 2008 still hasn’t been really firmly disproved.
For example, old arguments include:
- Ohio is slow in job creation, paid sick leave would slow it even more
- Expensive and complicated
- It would stop businesses coming to Ohio
As we talked above, some localities such as San Francisco have introduced paid sick leave and have not shown any negative effect on businesses but Ohio is a completely different market. It’s probably relatively safe to claim that Ohio will not be the third state to legislate paid sick days.
Once California is ready to analyze the results of their recently introduced legislature, more states may see the benefits of paid sick days leaves. Maybe after there are five or six states that have moved forward on the issue, we can see Ohio legislators acting more decisively.
Or, there may be a federal legislature. However, that’s very unlikely as well as the last federal act, the Healthy Families Act (HR 2460 / S 1152) was introduced in 2009 but died. However, there is a positive note to that. President Obama supports paid sick leave. Hopefully and the first lady has talked on the issue on numerous occasions.
Maybe during his second term of presidency president Obama will help the legislature of paid sick days to move forward.