LANSING, MI – When Kelly Garrett’s four-year-old was hospitalized for two weeks with sickle cell anemia complications, she didn’t worry about her job.
“The only thing you’re thinking about is your child and his wellbeing or her wellbeing,” Garrett said.
She had paid sick leave, she said, and was able to focus on her son during a difficult time. She’s with Mothering Justice, a statewide group focusing on family-related public policy.
According to an analysis published by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 46 percent of the state’s private sector workers don’t have access to paid sick leave at all.
Mothering Justice Director Danielle Atkinson said paid sick days are good for employers as well.
“No employer wants an ill employee to put their customers and other employees at risk. It’s just bad business,” Atkinson said.
If an employee is terminated over being sick, Atkinson said, the employer loses time and money advertising the position, interviewing for it and training a new hire.
Atkinson noted that in the Nov. 4 election Massachusetts passed paid sick days, as did cities in California and New Jersey.
Marissa Luna, new media specialist with Engage Michigan, said today that advocates were looking to “start a conversation” about paid sick leave.
Asked about strategy to get paid sick leave through the legislature, Luna said “Nothing is set in stone yet, no plans are set in stone. We’re just beginning the conversation, the very early stages, and educating Michigan residents as well.”
Emily Lawler is a Capitol/Lansing business reporter for MLive. You can reach her at email@example.com, subscribe to her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter: @emilyjanelawler.