Guest Post, Labor — September 25, 2016 at 10:27 am

Part 3: Earned Paid Sick Time, Faces of the Fight – Julia Coneo


This is the third of a four part series about workers who are directly impacted by the crucial fight to make earned paid sick time required by law. (Part 1 is HERE, Part 2 is HERE and Part 4 is HERE.) Last year, the group MI Time to Care launched a petition drive to put earned sick time on the ballot. They were ultimately not successful. However, they have not given up the fight and are working to make sure it’s on the 2018 ballot. You can read more about their effort and get updates HERE.

Here’s what I wrote last year about the Earned Sick Time Act:

The Earned Sick Time Act is a bill to provide workers with the right to earn sick time for personal or family health needs, as well as purposes related to domestic violence and sexual assault and school meetings needed as the result of a child’s disability, health, or issues due to domestic violence and sexual assault; to specify the conditions for accruing and using earned sick time; to prohibit retaliation against an employee for requesting, exercising, or enforcing rights granted in this act; to prescribe powers and duties of certain state departments, agencies, and officers; to provide for promulgation of rules; and to provide remedies and sanctions.

The proposal would allow people to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers could earn up to nine days of paid sick time, depending on the size of the business.

Today’s guest post is by Julia Coneo and I thank her for her essay.


I was born in 1992, which makes me solidly a “millennial.” The recession hit while I was in high school and has impacted every step of my journey into adulthood. Like many of my generation, I’ve never had a job with enough stability to earn paid sick time. I’ve worked as both a contract worker and an under the table service worker, but neither of those types of jobs can be considered stable.

I remember, long before all that, when I used to get sick as a kid. My dad usually took me to work with him because my mom drove all over the state for her job. I was closer to my mom, so I thought this was a terrible injustice! I can still remember lying on the couch in my dad’s office, one sweaty cheek plastered to its hot leather, watching him page through seemingly endless piles of beige folders.

Being sick is never fun, but being sick and being dragged behind mom or dad as they go about some unfamiliar work in some unfamiliar office is almost torture – and that’s for the lucky kids whose parents have jobs that allow a sick kid to tag along. I have friends with kids who I love to take to the park or the zoo. I can’t imagine raising kids in this unstable, unsupportive job market. I worry about what my friends will do when their kids get sick.

When kids get sick, they shouldn’t be carted to work with their parents like luggage. Earned Paid Sick Days legislation means kids staying home in their own beds with their stuffed animals – where sick kids belong.