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For struggling workers, sick time should not be out of reach

As a physician at Boston Medical Center and Codman Square Health Center, I was not surprised to read that Boston’s low-income neighborhoods bear the brunt of the flu (Page A1, Jan. 14). I meet people all the time who simply cannot take time off from work when they are sick for fear of losing their jobs or inability to go without a day’s pay.

The Boston Public Health Commission declared a public health emergency as it saw 10 times as many flu cases compared with the same time last year. Everyone should be able to get treatment when they are sick — to take care of themselves, and to avoid infecting their co-workers.

Just recently, I met with a mother who put off seeking treatment she desperately needed for fear of losing the only source of income that supports her and her 3-year-old daughter.

It’s time to pass the Earned Sick Time Bill, which would provide earned sick time to the nearly 1 million Massachusetts workers who currently lack a single sick day. I am urging our House and Senate leaders to step up and make this bill a top priority for passage this session.


Dr. Pooja Chitneni