Letter to the Editor: Lack of paid leave and child care is bad for business


Healthy people, kids, families and workers are critical to a productive and vibrant economy.

That’s why it’s no surprise that this rampant respiratory syncytial virus, COVID-19, cold and flu season is hitting us all hard. The combination of lack of paid sick days and paid family and medical leave, and our overstressed child care system, is pushing families to the brink.

Sick people at work cost businesses an average of $255 per employee per year — far more than the cost of giving people paid time off. Studies show companies who provided paid sick leave to people reported fewer occupational injuries. Not to mention that, to no surprise to anyone who has ever been sick, research indicates sick people perform more poorly. Even if they’re no longer contagious, sick employees are just not as productive.

Paid leave can also help prevent child abuse by increasing family stability and income, increasing maternal employment, improving a caregiver’s ability to meet children’s basic needs and building opportunities for strong parent-child attachment.

The reality is that paid sick days are key to our long-term health, stability and prosperity. Paid leave saves jobs and lives.

Child care is pivotal to ensuring parents and caregivers can work and support their families, and early educators need benefits and family-supporting wages to best care for themselves and our kids.

It’s time for leaders to act before the next emergency. It’s time for comprehensive child care.

Jennifer Webster


Editor’s note: Senate Substitute 2 for Senate Bill 1 was passed earlier this year and signed by Gov. John Carney on May 10. Statewide paid family and medical leave will go into effect for workers in Delaware on Jan. 1, 2025. Businesses with fewer than 25 workers would not be required to participate in the medical and family caregiving component of the program, and businesses with fewer than 10 employees would not be required to participate in parental leave, but they may opt in.

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