As we start to move into cold and flu season, here’s something to think about: 43 million workers in the United States do not have access to paid sick and family leave. Likewise, the U.S. is the only developed country that does not have mandatory national paid maternity leave. So while the federal government continues to struggle to define nationwide standards for employee protections and benefits, workers across the country are forced to choose between a paid day of work and taking care of their family and personal health concerns.
Of course, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does provide job-protected leave to eligible employees who need to take leave for family and medical reasons. However, this FMLA leave is unpaid and many employees simply cannot afford to take advantage of it. Thankfully, local and state governments seem to be moving forward where the federal government is not.