One of the many things that used to distinguish freelancing from other forms of employment was the lack of sick days. If you were sick, you either worked anyway, or you didn’t work, and you lost out on a day’s income. That was just how things operated, and you seethed in jealousy at your conventionally employed counterparts with their lavish sick leave. Gosh, you could ‘earn’ a whole sick day a quarter! Alas, in recent years, times have changed, and now paid sick days are extremely unusual. I can only think of one job I’ve ever had with a sick leave policy; even my job with fairly good benefits and extravagant employment terms like paid lunch didn’t offer sick days.
Women, people of colour, and low-income people, groups that experience a considerable overlap, are the most likely to suffer from lack of mandates concerning sick days, because they’re the most likely to work in low-paid jobs in the retail and service sector, and they’re the ones saddled with responsibilities like managing a family and taking care of other household business. The people most likely to need paid sick days, in other words, are the ones least likely to get them, and that’s a serious problem when you consider the fact that 38% of private sector employees can’t access paid sick days.