Hispanic Workers are Less Likely to Know About Leaves That Pay Laws, Despite Needing them the Most

With the support of the Ford Foundation, NHCOA is working to ensure that Latino workers across several states fight for pending legislation or are aware of existing laws that provide leaves that pay so they don’t have to choose between their job and their families

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“When workers can stay home to take care of themselves or a loved one while earning wages, both individuals and the health care system are better off in the long run." - Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) November 30, 2012

The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)— the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers— has been working across states to raise awareness and empower Latino workers and older adults to advocate for leaves that pay laws at the local and state level. Leaves that pay policies are the best way to ensure that workers don’t have to choose between their family and their job. Job security and steady wages are crucial for the Hispanic community as many workers are also caregivers and heads of households.

With the flu season underway, it is likely that workers without paid sick days are going to work ill. This creates a toll on the individual’s health, but also makes possible the spread of the illness to those in the work or family environment. Similarly, there are also workers who do have leaves that pay, but don’t use it when they are sick because they are unaware of the benefit.

“The Leaves That Pay initiative is more than good public health policy, it’s common sense,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO. “When workers can stay home to take care of themselves or a loved one while earning wages, both individuals and the health care system are better off in the long run. Leaves that pay enable workers to avoid spreading illnesses, and to manage minor health problems before they become serious or chronic.”

That is why NHCOA has been working to raise awareness among Latino workers in California, which has leaves that pay laws in place. While these workers are the ones who need leaves that pay the most, they are the least likely to use it in the event of an illness. In fact, according to a 2011 study by Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman only 34% of Hispanic Californians were aware these laws existed. Likewise, NHCOA has been working with advocates in New York City to bring a leaves that pay bill, which was introduced more than a year ago, to vote in the City Council. As the initiative expands, NHCOA hopes to empower Latino communities in Southern Florida to advocate for a similar law, and to expand an existing worker disability law in New Jersey.

NHCOA’s Leaves That Pays initiative is sponsored by the Ford Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.nhcoa.org.


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