Thursday, March 11, 2010

Healthy Families Act

Most working moms know the petri dish that is day care. If one kid is sick at day care, chances are, all the kids are soon sick. And a sick child can only mean one thing- a sick mom. While most toddlers understand the word “mine” all too well, there’s one thing they don’t mind sharing at all, and that’s germs.

What’s a working mom to do, especially in this economic climate? Missing a day of work could mean a black mark on your professional record. And when moms stay home to care for their children, they end up missing even more work, usually because they’ve been passed whatever germ their child was carrying.

Even mothers with the best intentions sometimes send a sick child to day care because they can’t afford any more time off work, or have run out of sick days. It’s an endless cycle of sick kids, sick parents and never enough sick time at work. According to a just released study, more than a third of working women in establishments with more than 15 employees have no paid sick leave.

That means they lose needed income, and could risk losing their jobs, if they stay home to keep a sick child out of childcare or school, or for their own illness. This problem isn't limited to just moms: Conservative estimates are that 40% of the entire private sector doesn't have any paid sick days. Congress is currently considering a bill called the Healthy Families Act, which would give 13.3 million women--for a total of over 30 million people--the ability to earn paid sick days at work.

The Healthy Families Act would guarantee that workers in the United States at firms that employ at least 15 employees would be able to earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The most daunting statistic is it’s the child care workers themselves who are the least likely to have paid sick days- which could trace some of the germs back to the people caring for your kids! Just 28% of child care workers in establishments of 15 or more employees can earn paid sick leave.

The best working moms can do is keep their kids home if they are sick, sanitize toys, wash hands when your child comes home, take off their clothes from the day and put them in fresh clothes and take their vitamins. Exercise is also a great way to boost your immune system, as well as getting enough rest and eating healthy. While most working moms are super moms, there’s been no secret weapon yet discovered for fighting off germs.

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