Christine Stuart photoPutting a new twist on the national “Take Your Child to Work Day,” Connecticut Working Families declared Thursday “Take Your Sick Child to Work Day.”

Don’t worry none of the children who came to the Legislative Office Building with their parents Thursday were sick. It was all part of the organization’s campaign to convince state legislators to approve a paid sick days bill, which they said would allow more parents to stay home with their sick child without the fear of losing a days pay.

Elena Filson, 10, felt parents should be able to stay home with their children when they’re sick. She said she would feel “sad” if her parents were unable to say home with her when she’s sick.

Erica Holahan, a single mom from New Haven, said she once risked her job to stay home with her four year old daughter Elsa, who was sick with the stomach flu. “I don’t think anyone should have to make a choice between their child and their livelihood,” Holahan said.

Christine Stuart photo
Erica Holahan and her daughter Elsa (Christine Stuart photo)

“Parents have literally been on the phone with me, crying because they will not get paid if they leave work for their sick child or, worse, they will be fired,” Donna Kosiorowski, a school nurse in West Haven, said in a press release.

Deborah Noble of Simsbury said she has co-workers who have to worry about the daycare calling and telling them they have to pick up their sick child immediately.

She said people in the Legislative Office Building don’t have to worry about that because they have paid sick days. “When parents don’t have paid sick days, it’s the children that suffer the most,” Noble said.

Jon Green, executive director of Connecticut Working Families, said parents who do have paid sick days are five times more likely to stay home with their sick children than those without paid time off.

Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, one of the bill’s biggest supporters said in this day and age it’s outrageous that people don’t have paid sick time.

She said workers have to be treated like human beings.

The bill which has already passed one legislative committee says for every 40 hours worked an employee would earn one hour of paid sick leave, up 52 hours or 6.5 days per year. The bill would only apply to companies with more than 50 employees.

Prague said at the moment she’s working on correcting the fiscal note, which estimates that it will cost the state $500,000 per year to extend paid sick leave coverage to part-time college professors. She said there’s still a question about whether adjunct professors would qualify for paid sick leave under the bill.

For the past two years the bill has passed the Senate, but has never been brought up for a vote in the House. This year the bill is a House bill so it will start in the House, if it makes it out of the Judiciary Committee where it’s currently awaiting a vote.