Workers Face Dilemma With Work And Paid Sick Leave

Thursday, January 20th 2022, 10:01 am

Companies allowed sick employees to get paid when the pandemic began, but now those policies have been scaled back with vaccines.

Low-income hourly workers are feeling it the most in an ever-changing situation in the workplace.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says 80% of all private-sector workers get at least one paid sick day.

Only 33% of workers who earn the least get paid sick leave compared to the 95% for top earners.

"Some of those small businesses are not able to continue to provide additional paid time off is what's in their policy," said Kristi Spaethe, the CEO of The People Perspective.

Kristi Spaethe works with companies around Oklahoma, helping them navigate the HR specifics.

She said it's about looking at the situation like the boss is in the worker's shoes.

"Employees are trying to take care of themselves and their families and put food on the table, while employers are trying to figure out how to keep their doors open," said Spaethe.

But the state is facing a labor shortage, which puts more pressure on employers to have people come into work.

Erin Hughes, with TEAM Professional Services, said it's about speaking up and being transparent on both sides.

"It's an interactive conversation. This is what I can do for you as an employer. These are the resources, and how do we meet in the middle to support each other," said Erin Hughes with TEAM Professional Services.

Right now, there are no state laws in place to increase sick leave.

On the federal level, President Biden's build-back better plan would require employers to provide 20 days of sick leave, but the fate of that bill is uncertain in the Senate.