No Nebraskan should have to choose between their paycheck and their health or the health of their family. That’s why we are proud to be part of a collaborative effort to collect signatures to get paid sick leave on the November 2024 ballot.
Access to paid sick leave is a need for all Nebraskans. Nearly 80% of school-age children in Nebraska have working parents. And yet, most of those hardworking Nebraskans don’t have access to paid sick days. Without paid sick leave, caregivers are faced with the impossible choice of sending their sick child to school or losing a day’s pay. Sending a child to school risks making their child sicker and infecting other kids, but skipping work means missing out on a paycheck needed for prescriptions, to put food on the table or pay rent.
If passed by the majority of voters in Nebraska, our initiative would require all Nebraska business to offer paid sick leave to employees—so they can earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. That means hard-working Nebraskans can earn up to five days off per year if they work at a small company (fewer than 20 employees) and up to seven days off per year if they work at a larger company (20 or more employees). This will allow Nebraskans to care for themselves or their loved ones if they get sick.
Paid sick leave laws typically provide short-term time off with sick time being used because of a short-term illness (such as a stomach flu or bad cold), to attend a medical appointment, to seek preventive care (like vaccines and routine medical check-ups) or to care for a loved one who is ill.
Letting working people earn sick days is common sense and supports our Nebraska values—that includes letting people take care of sick kids or aging parents without losing their income—while advancing gender equity. Women in service-sector jobs are 11 percentage points less likely than men to have access to paid sick leave. Additionally, 43% of working mothers—which includes 54% Latina and 42% Black mothers—do not have access to paid sick leave, which is particularly concerning given that women shoulder a disproportionate share of caregiving duties throughout the United States.
It’s time to care about Nebraskans and their families, and it’s time to make Nebraska work for working Nebraskans. It’s time for Paid Sick Leave for Nebraskans.