As a low wage worker, at Wal-Mart I can honestly say that the FAMLI Act would relieve an incredible burden from thousands of workers throughout Colorado. And give workers, especially woman the ability to care for their children and themselves like they should.
On a personal level this bill would help me. In March, I had an allergic reaction to the new shoes I had bought for work. As a result, I have not been able to work for three weeks while my skin is healing from a horrible rash that caused blisters and scabs.
The financial burden this has caused me to get shut off notices from the water and utility companies, no money for groceries and I wasn’t even sure whether or not I would be able to pay the rent in April. If the FAMLI Act was already in effect I would not be faced with the possibility of being homeless because of an unforeseen illness.
Although this wage replacement wouldn’t cover my entire paycheck, it would cover enough that I could have eaten more than mac-n-cheese and fried egg sandwiches for the last week. The thought has even occurred to me that maybe if I had money to eat than maybe I would have healed faster because I would be eating more than one meal a day. A healthy body definitely helps faster healing.
The FAMLI Act would be an answer to the prayers of many of my coworkers as well. This past Christmas, one of the cashiers I work with came to work for almost a week straight with walking pneumonia despite doctor’s orders to stay home. Being the sole provider for her child she could not afford to stay home and not receive her desperately needed wages.
There have been countless times in my 5 years at Wal-Mart that I have seen single mothers sneaking a phone call to one of their children. Their children were sick and crying alone because they wanted mom to come home. My coworkers would be scrunched down behind a clothing rack trying to comfort their child over the phone quickly before management walked by.
It is no secret that finding a corporation that offers family friendly benefits is a rare thing. This legislation would give mothers and fathers the ability to take care of their children and not have to abandon them when they’re sick. It would give low wage workers like myself the ability heal without facing eviction or going hungry.
Many people have said that raising the minimum wage is a great first step to helping our economy and helping people to pull themselves out of poverty. If this is true, then I would have to say that the FAMLI Act would be the imperative second step. It would keep people who are living in poverty from having to choose between having money to pay rent and taking care of themselves or a sick family member.
On top of the benefits to workers the employer also benefits because it is a worker funded program. This makes it beneficial for everyone, which translates to being better for our economy.