I’m a farmer and builder in Glover, Vermont, writing about the importance of paid sick days. When folks initially explained the idea to me it seemed absurd. I’ve worked over 20 jobs and never had paid sick days. Yet I’ve seen firsthand how important paid sick days are to workers.
When I was 19 at my first farm job, I whacked myself in the head pounding tomato stakes. I left work, drove myself to the hospital and got stitches. Because I was afraid to take unpaid time off, I returned to work the next day. The concussion I had received made it impossible to work. I was not paid during my recovery, and I struggled financially while trying to recover.
Last fall I got shingles, and continued to work with shingles in my eye. I wasn’t able to deal with my health because I was afraid of missing work, and it got bad enough that I became completely unable to work for a few weeks.
I’ve heard many stories of friends losing jobs for taking a day off for their or their children’s health. We need to see health as a collective responsibility, so that we can all live better lives. One step in that direction is Vermont becoming passing a Paid Sick Days law in 2014.
I encourage you to join us at the Vermont Statehouse on January 7th at 10:30am in the Cedar Creek Room as we rally for Paid Sick Days.