Access to Paid Sick Days is Key to Equal Pay

By Zoe Ziliak Michel

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (LLFPA). The first bill President Obama signed into law upon taking office, the LLFPA expands upon the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to help ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. The LLFPA was just the start of President Obama’s long-term focus on promoting equal protections for women. More recently, he has called on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act (HFA), a bill to allow workers across America to earn paid sick time. 

Access to paid sick time is essential so women can both earn equal pay and thrive on par with men in the workplace. While male and female workers are about equally likely to have access to paid sick time, women may pay a higher cost than men when they lack this access. Although the balance has been shifting, child care responsibilities in our country are still very much split along gender lines. Mothers are much more likely than fathers to stay home when a child is sick and to take their children to medical appointments. Workers who don’t have paid sick time lose wages or even their jobs when they need time to recover from illness. This risk is even greater for mothers, who often need this time for both their own illnesses and those of their children. By ensuring that moms don’t lose pay or end up out of a job when their kids are sick, the HFA would help reduce the gender gap in the working world. 

Passing progressive legislation like the HFA requires strong support from business owners who recognize the importance of fair treatment for all workers. Although many business owners from across the country have already spoken out in favor of paid sick time legislation, we need even more employers to take a stand if HFA is to become the law of the land. That’s why CLASP is releasing three new HFA pieces today to help educate forward-thinking employers about this important bill. OurHFA Fact Sheet gives business owners a summary of the provisions of the bill. Our HFA Detailed Review helps employers understand the specifics of the HFA, and our Business Benefits of Paid Sick Time piece shows how companies save money and increase productivity when they institute paid sick time policies. 

Seven years ago, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to promote gender equality in the workplace. Today, employers can help further that progress by urging Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act. 

You can access the new CLASP briefs here: