Except in the state of Florida, that is, which recently enacted law to block it.
On June 14 Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that eliminates the option of paid sick time for workers in the state, and in opposition to public opinion.
The bill’s initial sponsor was Sen. David Simmons, whose District 10 borders the Orlando location of Disney World, which openly supported the no-sick-pay law. Other corporations and associations, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, also promoted the ban.
The new state law defeats community and local government efforts to provide what’s a common benefit in the rest of the world.
Voters in Orange County had secured a sizable petition calling for paid sick leave in their community. A proposal to appear on 2014 ballots called for workers to earn one hour of sick leave for every 37 hours of work completed, up to an annual maximum of 56 hours. Companies with less than 15 employees were to be excluded.
The new law stifles that effort, however, and the proposal won’t be brought to public vote.
At least 145 countries mandate paid sick leave, but not the U.S., leaving it in the company of Chad, North Korea, former-Soviet Georgia and a few other third-world countries.
The only pertinent U.S. law simply guarantees unpaid sick leave, and only for employees with minimum 12-month tenures at businesses with at least 50 employees.
A 2008 poll by the National Opinion Research Center found that 86 percent of the American population supports paid sick leave; 18 percent of currently employed Americans say that they or at least one of their relatives has been punished by employers, reprimanded or even fired because of missing work due to an illness.
The U.S. pales in global comparison of other labor benefits, as well. For example, 48 countries guarantee paid time off to parents who need to care for sick children, and 74 countries offer paid paternity leave.
Standing out further, the United States is accompanied by third-world Papua New Guinea and Swaziland as the only three countries that do not offer rights to paid maternity leave.