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map showing which countries have paid sick leave; U.S. is one of very few that does not
On paid sick leave, or lack thereof, the United States is in select company, one of only a few countries that don't guarantee some paid time off if you're sick. It's the U.S., Syria, Chad, Boznia and Herzegovina, India, and just a few others. In fact, among the 15 wealthiest and most productive countries, the U.S. is alone in not having paid sick leave.

Some American cities and states are chipping away at this, but a paid sick leave law for New York City is currently being held up by Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Such a law would benefit more than 1.65 million New Yorkers and reduce health care costs by tens of millions of dollars.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

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  • Where free speech goes to die:
    Bosses and those who work under them are not equal when it comes to free-speech legal claims. Employers have the right to take action against any employee who engages in political speech that company leaders find offensive. With a few narrow exceptions the Constitution and the federal laws derived from it only protect a person’s right to expression from government interference, not from the restrictions a private employer may impose, lawyers say.

    Employers are not similarly restricted in expressing their political views or encouraging support for a particular candidate or cause. Not only can employers remind employees of the upcoming election and encourage them to vote, but they can base continued employment on whether a worker agrees to contribute money or time to the boss’s favorite political candidate, so long as there’s no state law prohibiting it. (Eight states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting employees from such mandates.)

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Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Paid sick leave? If you think it's bad now, just (9+ / 0-)

    wait till a legion of Ayn Randists get a hold of our society.

    I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

    by Wildthumb on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 11:13:56 AM PDT

    •  Already here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb, Dirtandiron

      Im hourly, so when I'm sick, I have to show up to work or I don't get paid.

      Never mind that it takes me longer to recover, my productivity is negatively impacted until I get better, and there is a very real possibility that I'm infecting my coworkers; my company is "saving" money by not offering paid sick days.

      Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only for wallowing in. — Katherine Mansfield

      by Simolean on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 03:03:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  American Exceptionalism (9+ / 0-)


    I don't mind straight people as long as they act gay in public.

    by internationaljock on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 11:16:15 AM PDT

  •  Once again, (10+ / 0-)

    the company we keep defines our values.  Look at that map!  It's embarrassing - but at least we're not one of those dreaded socialist countries.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 11:16:29 AM PDT

  •  Well, we have to stay competitive! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakedog42, sethtriggs

    And if people choose to stay home and starve rather than go to work and die in a illness related accident...


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 11:28:06 AM PDT

  •  Corporate fascism is fun for the whole family nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, sethtriggs
  •  Look at ALL the working measures... (11+ / 0-)

    vacation days, paid maternity/paternity leave, sick days... we are last or near last in every single one compare to the developed world.

    We are such incredible suckers.

    •  The sad part of this is that we once (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wxorknot, sethtriggs

      led the world.  The 8 hour work day, paid vacations were one of the first collective benefits of unions which affected every worker.

      Today, workers are afraid of taking vacations - fearing the boss won't approve of the time away from work and replace them while they're gone.  Ditto taking a sick day.

      Many employers (including mine before I retired) enacted policies that make taking a sick day a disciplinary measure even with a doctors excuse.  Taking more than 3 sick days is grounds for dismissal (sorry if you just had heart surgery - get your ass back to work).

      Welcome to America.  Land of the (not so) free, home of the heartless bosses.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 12:31:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Speak for yourself (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In my opinion, anyone with corporate loyalty is a victim-waiting-to-happen. I'm only there for 2-6 years until forced out or something better comes along.

        You better believe that I drain my PTO/sick/floating holiday bank dry every year. If my current boss has a problem with it, he can "write me up" or "fire" me. It just means I'll be working somewhere else sooner.

        I remember when AT&T whacked 30,000 people in one go, back in the mid '90s. That's when I realized it is us workers vs. them in the corporate FFA.

        Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only for wallowing in. — Katherine Mansfield

        by Simolean on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 03:12:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, Puddytat

        We are strictly 'urged' not to take sick days (we do get 5 paid sick days a year). Should we take one, we are disciplined, a note from the doctor or clinic does not erase the demerit.
        People come to work sick and make other employees around them sick.  Some have fainted at work and have had the EMTs and ambulance called.
        There are lots of people out on medical leave because of the stress of not being able to be out for a few days to take care of something that inevitably worsened.
        Frankly, in all my years of working, I've never seen anything as drastic as this.
        Something's gotta give, people can't go on like this for an extended time.

        I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

        by Lilyvt on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 03:17:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There needs to be a legislative remedy (0+ / 0-)

          like other worker safety and health provisions.  Some employers do a great job, but like with all laws and regulations they are needed for the bad guys.  Sadly, the number of greedy, inhumane, and exploitative employers is increasing.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 09:36:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  One of my father's memories (8+ / 0-)

    on his second trip to the US in 1967 was about a man, one could call a business man and small entrepreneur, who told my father expresseing some compassion and pity for someone who lost his job because he was sick too long: "Well, it's his fault, if he is sick too long, isn't it? It's just a matter of having good or bad luck."

    Something my father never forgot. Nowadays, it's a matter of being a patriotic American or not, getting sick seems to be pretty un-american at least if you listen to Paul Ryan.

  •  Lest we be accused (7+ / 0-)

    of coddling the dirty laborer, I would remind the John Galt types that a sick worker bee staying at home is a sick worker bee that does not pass on his illness to the other worker bees. Thus, productivity remains relatively high, as opposed to screeching to a halt.

    Modern American workplaces are petri dishes for disease because people don't go home when they're sick. They need the money, they need to keep working.

  •  or unpaid either. Effect = more contractors (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckydog, sethtriggs

    Many workers don't get unpaid sick leave either -- you don't show up, you lose your job. (The exception where I am is public employee unions, where there is paid sick leave, and you can accumulate it without limits, so when people retire, they have a very nice six-figure kitty coming to them, compliments of the local property taxpayer.)

    My prediction is that if anything like this were to pass, the most common response would be to turn even more employees into faux "independent contractors" or contingent workers who the employer does not have to give anything -- not Social Security and Medicare taxes, not even workers' comp or unemployment coverage. Around here that's already very common, and it would only get worse.

    •  Most people only get a fraction of their unused (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      luckydog, sethtriggs

      sick leave upon retirement.  As a public school teacher, I will get 1/4 of my sick leave paid upon retirement.  This seems to be a common practice in the public workforce.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 11:54:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Once.... (0+ / 0-)

        upon a time, I worked for many, many years at a company where we were able to accrue vacation, as well as, sick time.
        I never called in sick, and the sick time rolled over, year to year.  I left with over nine full weeks of sick time.  And was not allowed to collect my accrued time.
        Interestingly, had I been pregnant and left, but promised to come back (fully knowing I wouldn't) I'd have been allowed to collect on my sick time.
        In essence, the non-collection of sick time when one left was discriminatory towards men who would never be pregnant and therefore couldn't lie about returning, and in my case, women who also weren't pregnant and didn't lie about returning.  We all got the shaft regarding unused sick time.  It was like a present we gave to the company.

        I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

        by Lilyvt on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 03:29:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Niiiice (6+ / 0-)

    Right up there with Chad and Angola.

    Couple of years ago, talking to a friend in the UK, I mentioned how I'd been earlier laid off from a job, then rehired, but at reduced hours, slightly lower rates, and of course no benefits.

    You didn't have any paid leave time? she asked.


    But, but -- she sputtered, really -- in Europe, that's illegal.

    "This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it." -- Eeyore

    by Mnemosyne on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 11:37:52 AM PDT

  •  American Exceptionalism!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakedog42, sethtriggs

    glory be your devotion to this cause is impressive...............

    the sad thing is that some people actually think it IS good work!

  •  India definitely has paid sick leave (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckydog, sethtriggs

    India has very generous vacation benefits for half of its work force. Left over from the colonial days when the British officers needed 2 months of vacation to spend any decent length of time in Britain. They get 30 days of sick leave at half pay, convertible to 15 days of sick leave with full pay. That is in addition to 12 national holidays, 30 days or earned leave, 12 days of casual leave. You need a medical certificate to avail sick leave. This is the typical government civil service rules. Private companies are different.

    But all this applies only to the organized sector. Private and government jobs of decent well established companies.

    In the unorganized sector, which employs more than half of Indian workforce, there is nothing. No paid leave of any kind. You get paid only on the days you work. Minimum wage work place safety rules etc are all wantonly flouted and there is practically no enforcement.

  •  I was born in the USA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greenfinches, sethtriggs

    and currently I work for a European company working here in the states. I get many may perks that others in my field don't get working for American companies. And I tell everyone I know. I guess this is a byproduct of globalization I can't argue against.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 11:57:17 AM PDT

  •  Your huddled masses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl, sethtriggs

    The goal of the TeaParty/GOP seems to turn the American middle class into the immigrants described on the plaque at the Statue of Liberty! No wonder so many Mexicans have crossed the border back into their homeland - other than the risk of being murdered, it can't be much worse...You're #1, You're #1.

  •  makes sense. (0+ / 0-)

    I mean when I think of successful high GDP countries in Africa, I think: Chad.

  •  Gotta love the Netherlands for that.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In principle.. one can get sick.. and income is guaranteed for a very long time (few years). After that, there are other safety nets.

    And in the meantime, you and your employer actually have to make a detailed plan for you to get back to work. And your employer has to be actively involved.

    However, certain political parties are taking their lessons from the US... which does not bode well.

    ( coincidentally, my first post.. yay! )

  •  I am one of the fortunate few (0+ / 0-)

    I am taking 7 weeks sick leave this summer (knee replacement surgery) and I get paid because in 19 years I have built up 50 days of sick leave.  It makes a huge difference and I wish everyone could have what I have.

  •  but, but, but (0+ / 0-)

    we have FREEDOM!(trademark) yay! snark

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 08:35:08 AM PDT

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