New poll shows importance of paid sick leave to parents of young children

When kids get sick: Concerns among working parents, C.S. Mott Children's HospitalThe University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital just released a national poll on children’s health — “Sick Parents, Struggling Kids,” which confirms loss of pay and/or a job are real concerns of parents whose young children are or may become sick.

The hospital’s survey found that many child care settings exclude sick children “until they have a doctor’s note, are taking antibiotics, or their illness has improved or resolved.” This restriction poses challenges for working parents, many of whom need to meet work obligations in order to support their families.

Key findings of the report:

  • 42% of parents of young children in child care have missed work in the last year. 26% missed work three or more times in a year because of their child.
  • One-third of parents of young children in child care are concerned about losing jobs or losing pay when taking off work to care for their sick children.
  • Nearly one-third report that they do not receive enough paid time off to care for sick children.

The authors conclude:

Improving employee benefits related to paid sick leave appears to be important for many parents because it would allow parents to care for their sick child at home or give parents the opportunity to go to their child’s usual health care provider instead of the emergency room.

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