Working an office “9 to 5 job” has always been challenging for me. I hate dress codes, my internal body clock works best at night and it’s hard for me to sit still in one place for 8 hours…let alone 8 minutes. However, now that I freelance full-time (which is a blessing but it ain’t no joke) I do miss certain perks: offline socialization, bi-weekly pay checks and especially paid sick days.
Think about those days where you have a throbbing headache, you’re coughing up funky chunky stuff, you have tissues stuck up your nose to stop it from running, your stomach is keeping you tied to the toilet, your uterus is ripping apart…or you’re just flat out exhausted, physically and mentally. Many working people are able to pick up the phone, call their boss and have the security of taking care of themselves without losing a full day’s wages.
However a large part of the working population such as domestic workers, food service/waitstaff, and retail employees in New York City do not have this luxury. Not only are they not likely to have health insurance, they certainly don’t have sick days. This specifically hits home for many women,especially women of color and/or immigrant women, who are often caretakers for their families in addition to being breadwinners. Many women have to choose between earning money to provide basic necessities for themselves and their family, or staying home sick or with a sick family member. It’s not really much of a choice, is it?