The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

A Sneeze Is More than a Sneeze:
Sick Pay in the U.S.

Feb 2, 2015

President Obama recently gave a talk promoting paid sick time. It would be great if workers actually had some guaranteed paid sick time in this country. But that’s not really what Obama proposed.

According to a 2009 report called appropriately “Contagion Nation,” only six out of every 10 workers in the private sector have paid time off; and among part-time workers, only one in four has paid time off. That leaves at least 40 million workers in the U.S. needing to work while they are sick!

And the U.S., along with Canada and Japan, is one of the few wealthy countries that has no guaranteed sick time or paid leave, paid vacations, etc. Even in Greece, Ireland, Italy and Britain, all of which suffered severe economic downturns in the last recession, there is paid sick time off.

In these countries, 75% of workers wages are paid during sick time; other countries require at least $100 per week for sick time.

What Obama proposed would not be extra sick time. It would mean sick time used against future benefits, so the employee would have less sick time in the future if it was used in the present. So if you got sick now, you couldn’t get sick in the future!

One more example of politician double-speak: raising real problems, but giving no solutions.