Valerie Jarrett: Paid Sick Leave Is ‘Good for the Economy’
“It’s interesting. I’ll give you some statistics. All parents work in 60 percent of families. That’s a big change since 1965 when it was only 40 percent. And yet fewer than 60 percent of working adults had any sick leave, any paid leave whatsoever. And people get sick. People have babies. People want to spend time bonding with those babies, both men and women. We are finding increasingly people are responsible for their parents and elder care is important. And so what the president wants to make sure is that for both workers and families we are providing the kind of benefits that recognize the fact that we don’t just work. We have family responsibilities. We get ill. We have babies. We need to take care of ourselves.
And so he’s supporting the Healthy Families Act. It’s a bill currently being considered in Congress which would provide seven sick days – paid sick days to every American. Right now over 40 million Americans don’t have a single day off with pay whether they’re sick, their child’s sick, their parents are sick. And we also want to encourage paid leave. So the federal government is contemplating now a policy, but let’s not wait for them. So the president is encouraging states and cities across our country to pass laws that would provide both sick time paid as well as family leave paid.
And he’s also signing a presidential memorandum that would provide federal employees with the ability to advance their sick time and take it for paid leave for six weeks, and calling on Congress to pass a Paid Leave Policy for federal workers as well. And the reason why behind all of this is it’s not just good for workers but it’s good for the economy. Study after study shows that employers who provide these kinds of benefits to their employees are more productive and more profitable, whether it’s a small business, a large business, it doesn’t matter.”