All workers, regardless of status, occupation or gender, should have the ability to earn paid sick time. After all, it is earned time, not given time.

During the upcoming campaigns and elections, I hope that our candidates will seriously consider the proposed policy of paid sick time in the workplace.

Why would such legislation be important?

First of all, paid sick time is lowest in jobs that require frequent contact with the public. According to the website paidsickdays.org, 24 percent of food preparation and service workers and 31 percent of child care workers get paid sick time.

That means that 76 percent of the people preparing and serving your food have come to work sick because they cannot afford to take an unpaid day off to get well. And that means that 69 percent of the people caring for your child have come to work sick because they cannot afford to take an unpaid day off to go to the doctor for preventive care.

Economically, paid sick time makes sense. People who come to work sick are less productive and make costly errors. Having the ability to take time off to get well is smart business, as it increases productivity and saves money in the long run.

Let us follow in the footprints of Rhode Island and Connecticut and get Maine on the right side of history. I urge our legislators to approve paid sick time for our workers.

Jocelyn Leighton

Portland