Currently, over 198,000 workers in Maine don’t have access to any paid sick time at work. Forty-two percent of Maine’s workforce has no guarantee that they will be able to take a paid sick day when they are ill. Because of this, many Maine workers are forced into difficult decisions dealing with health. Parents must decide if they can afford to lose a day’s pay, or send their sick child to school. No Mainer should have to choose between their health and their work that allows the wages they need to put food on the table.

I have a close friend who has spent time working in nursing homes around the state of Maine that have not allowed them to earn sick days. Because of this, my friend has been forced to go into work when sick and work with immunocompromised people because these workers cannot afford to have even one day missing from the paycheck. My own personal experience intertwines with this, as I’ve had something as little as a cough when I’ve gone to visit family at a nursing home and I was stopped at the door.

Earned paid sick days would reduce income loss and the threat of job loss for low-income workers during periods of illness. This would prevent hunger and housing insecurity. All workers in Maine deserve the ability to earn these sick days and we shouldn’t be leaving any Maine workers behind.

The Maine Small Business Coalition supports paid sick days in businesses all over Maine, and it’s time that everyone got them. I urge my legislators in Augusta to pass legislation to ensure up to five earned paid sick days annually for all Maine workers.

Samuel A. Green


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