I try to stay away from politics in my blogs, and while some may think that this is a political post, it isn’t. Writing opinion pieces are tempting, but I don’t want to write simply to state my opinion. I have conversations with friends and family about that. 😉
Today’s post is about talk I’ve heard about legislating paid sick days for workers whose employers don’t offer sick pay right now. I understand the importance of paid sick days, especially during a pandemic, but I think that assuring people they’ll be covered if they stay home sick is just one part of the solution. As someone who has pushed through not feeling well to go to work because the work wouldn’t stop if I did, we have to help people realize that there’s nothing wrong with giving the body time to rest.
The last time I went to the office sick, I justified it because no one else was at the office. If I was keeping my germs to myself, no harm, no foul, right? If I has covid-19, it wouldn’t be safe because I would be spreading my germs every time I went to the bathroom, and to anyone I encountered in my travels to and from the office.
As the child of immigrants, unless you didn’t have the strength to get out of bed, you were good enough to go to school or work. My father went to work for half the day, five days a week for the first 5 weeks of radiation treatment when he was first diagnosed with cancer. Even when they told him to get his affairs in order years later, he only stopped going to work because the doctor told him and my mother that there was no way he was going to be able to handle work and the treatments he would be going through.
When my mother had a hysterectomy over 30 years ago, I remember being told that she would be on bed rest for at least two weeks. My mother didn’t last two days before she had made her way down the stairs and was baking donuts in the kitchen. She refused to stay in bed and felt it did her better to keep active.
This isn’t to brag that my parents are superheroes. This is to say that some people need to understand that staying home because you’re not well isn’t a sign of weakness, It’s about self-care and making sure others around you stay healthy.
If the mindset doesn’t change, providing a paid sick day won’t matter. There are people out there who believe that not showing up for work will be a strike against them. Whether or not that’s the truth doesn’t matter. They see taking a sick day as a negative thing. I don’t know what the answer is to shift that mindset, but I know it’s a major hurdle that needs to be overcome. ♥