Dear President Obama,
When my father was in hospice care in 2006, I was able to take time off with pay to be with him. I had earned a sick day each month I taught in a public middle school, which allowed me to spend a week at a time with him and support my mother emotionally.
He died in October, and with personal leave (minus $50 a day for a substitute) I was able to spend a week with my siblings until after the memorial service the following weekend.
It never crossed my mind that I had a choice about being with my dad and my family. But the effect of paid leave time meant I never felt guilty for losing income on which my family depended. We were able to pay our bills and eat as usual.
The death of a parent is heartwrenching enough without fear of job loss or lost wages.
Why isn’t paid sick leave the norm?
I hope you will speak to this in your State of the Union address.