Debate over NC sick days comes to Wilmington

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Kristy Ondo - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The showdown over sick time has reached the state capitol, and Tuesday night it came to Wilmington.

Lawmakers may force companies to provide paid sick leave for all North Carolina workers. Some say that could be the death of many small businesses.

Right now 1.5 million workers in North Carolina do not get sick days without penalties.

Many of them are not be paid for the time off, and others risk getting fired.

"People just can't afford to lose a day's pay. They're living from paycheck to paycheck. If they have to lose a day's pay, it has a terrible impact on their families,"  said Ajamu Dillahunt of the NC Justice Center.

An organization called "NC Needs Paid Sick Days" came to Wilmington Tuesday night to advocate North Carolina House Bill 177--the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act.

If state lawmakers pass the bill, all businesses would be required to allow their employees sick days.

Sunday Briggs, Jr. gets sick days at his job and said those paid days off were vital when he had to have surgery and missed work.

"It's really hard, and I think anybody with a job needs to have sick days; I really do," said Briggs, Jr.

Opponents believe providing sick days would be too expensive for some small companies.

Supporters believe those companies would benefit from more productive employees, and they wouldn't have to train new workers to replace those who are let go for missing work.

The Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act is currently in the Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

To learn more about the sick days debate, click here.

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