Doctors, nurses and other health-care workers demand Ontario provide workers with 10 paid sick days

From the Toronto Star article

All workers, especially those in low-wage and precarious employment, need 10 permanent paid sick days or their health will suffer, diseases such as COVID-19 will be more likely to spread — and more people will end up in the hospital.

That’s the message more than 160 physicians, nurses and other health-care workers are sending to the province with an open letter published Friday, calling on the government to legislate 10 paid sick days for all workers, public or private.

The letter was created by the Decent Work and Health Network, a health and labour rights advocacy group operated by health-care workers.

Health workers and advocates who signed the letter told the Star it’s unacceptable the province has not already made the change, two years into a pandemic that has disproportionately led to the hospitalization of racialized and low-income workers who do not have sick leave.

Ahead of a seventh wave that could come in the fall, all workers need as much protection as they can get, they said.

Workers not only need paid sick days for themselves, they need to be able to stay home with their children if they get sick, said Dr. Shazeen Suleman, a pediatrician at St. Michael’s Hospital who signed the letter.

Young children will have 10 to 15 colds a year, and often when children are very young, they will get severely ill, she said.

“A child doesn’t have any choice of when they are getting sick,” said Suleman. “If their parent doesn’t have access to a paid sick day they are having to either send them to school sick and go to work to put food on the table, or take care of their child.

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