Thank you to all Collaborative members! Because of your hard work and dedication, the Family Care Act passed 4-1 through the House Industrial Relations Committee on March 6, 2012. Special thanks to Beth English who drove up from South GA, just for the hearing, and to Abby Cox, Nancy Pitra, Wendell Phillips, Clare Ritchie, Pat Willis, Polly McKinney, Jameelah Ferrell, Pat Nobbie, Linda Lowe, Kellie Persons and the wonderful members of 9to5, for filling the room.
Please thank the following Representatives who supported the Family Care Act HB 290:
Committee Chair Representative Bill Hembree
Sponsor of the Family Care Act Representative Katie Dempsey
Keeping sick children home isn’t an option for thousands of Georgia workers. They want to do the right thing and prevent the spread of illness. Yet, without access to sick days for family members, they risk paychecks and even jobs if they stay home when their children become sick.
- During the fall of 2009, more than 400 schools nationwide closed due to H1H1. The highest rate of infection was among 5-24 year-olds, many of whom need a parent to care for them when staying home from school.
- More than one-third of flu cases are transmitted in schools and workplaces. Staying at home when infected may reduce the number of people impacted by a pandemic influenza by 15% – 35%.
Nationwide, nearly 86 million workers (including those who have sick days to use for their own illness) do not have paid sick days to care for sick children.
A Realistic, Cost-Effective Solution
Allow use of existing employer-provided sick days for illness of an employee’s child, or other immediate family member. Eight states currently have laws providing access to sick days for ill family members.
The bill would not require any expansion of current benefits by any employer. Whatever their current sick days policy is – it would stay the same. It would simply allow employees to use their accrued sick days for the illness of a child, spouse or parent, as well as for their own illness.
Our society values families and caring for our own. Employers benefit through increased loyalty and productivity, and lower turnover when employees’ family responsibilities are supported.
Allowing use of sick days that employees have already earned, through existing company policies, for family illness protects public health and promotes family responsibility, without new requirements for employers.
We at the Job/Family Collaborative recognize that many businesses already provide this benefit for their employees, and more. We commend the forward-thinking businesses that provide flexible sick leave for their employees:
- Albany Advocacy Resource Center
- Albany Housing Authority
- Delta Airlines
- Dooly County School System
- Draffin and Tucker, LLP
- Easter Seals Southern Georgia
- Federal Home Loan Bank
- Georgia Farm Bureau
- Georgia Power Company
- Heritage Bank
- Proctor and Gamble
- Putney Memorial Hospital
- Southwest Georgia CASA
- Southwest Georgia United
- the State of Georgia
- SunTrust Bank
- Watson Spence Law Firm