Posted: March 6, 2020
By: Sharon Hirsch, Prevent Child Abuse NC President & CEO

Sick leave is not a right for approximately one quarter of American workers.  More than half in service industries, required to report to their workplace and likely to meet the public, have no sick leave. Service jobs are among the lowest paid. Parents with economic means to take time off to care for children or their own health are less likely to abuse or neglect their children. The CDC recommends family-friendly workplace policies, including paid leave, to prevent child maltreatment.

With the rising concerns about COVID-19, we worry about the impact on children. Public health recommendations will likely require anyone with symptoms to stay home and avoid public areas, for up to 2-3 weeks. The NC Institute of Medicine notes this is considered one of the most effective ways to contain spread of the virus. Without paid sick leave, the financial hardship for many workers could lead to consequences on children’s safety.

Many states have laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave.  It is time to assure that all workers in NC have paid sick leave for the health and safety of our children – and us all.