Millions of workers across Ontario lack access to job-protection and paid sick leave. Many cannot afford to take a sick day.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights joins the Fight for $15 & Fairness alongside health workers and advocates in calling on the government to guarantee paid sick leave and job-protected leave to all workers and to prohibit requirements for medical notes.
Lack of access to paid sick leave leads to negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes and the denial of sexual and reproductive rights.
Poverty is one of the strongest predictors of poor health. Low levels of socio-economic development facilitate the spread of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (including HIV); challenge access to prevention, treatment and support; and coincide with an increase in unintended pregnancies. Denying access to paid sick leave can lead to difficulties at work or loss of income as a result of pregnancy related sickness or medical appointments, needing an abortion, or managing chronic illness like HIV or Hepatitis C.
Without access to paid sick leave, employees needing time to address their sexual or reproductive health needs may be forced to risk their livelihood or their paycheck, effectively reducing their access to healthcare. Industries least likely to offer paid sick leave, like retail, food service and personal care, are ones in which people of color are over-represented. These same industries provide lower wages; workers living on smaller budgets may not be able afford to take time off.
Paid sick leave helps to support people in caring for themselves and their families, ensuring that all people have the flexibility and privacy they need to navigate their health choices.