Healthy Families Act makes sense

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It should not come as a surprise that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce

came out publicly last week in opposition to the proposed Ohio Healthy Families Act.

Many Ohioans work for credible employers who provide a specific number of sick days for their employees.

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Unfortunately, a staggering number of Ohio workers (more than 40 percent) have no paid sick days and often have to make decisions about whether to work or miss a full day’s pay by caring for a loved one.

That just shouldn’t be the case.

The act calls for employees to be able to earn up to seven sick days per year.

The group behind the effort, Ohioans for Healthy Families, turned in some 268,000 signatures. The issue will first be tackled by the legislature, but if it doesn’t pass a bill the issue can then go to the November ballot with the same requirements for signatures.

The legislature should not let it get that far. It should move forward with legislation that is fair and humane.

The concern, naturally, would be that such a law would be taken advantage of by employees and become burdensome to employers.

However, it is important to note that what is proposed is not an entitlement. These are earned sick days, which encourages employees to work.

The bottom line is that for those employers that do not agree to this fundamental policy, they are essentially saying it is justifiable to have an employee neglect a sick family member in order to pay the bills.

But perhaps the best argument in favor of this legislation is that there is a current double standard in the Ohio workplace.

It goes without saying that in some of the businesses that do not offer sick days, executives certainly have the benefit of not losing any of their pay when they must care to families matters.

So then, why should it be different for the more than two million Ohio employees who would like to do the same?