Riesha, a paid sick leave advocate, knows just how quickly illness, tragedy, and loss can compound to make life almost impossible for working Nebraskans to navigate when they don’t have paid sick leave.
“For the first 18 months of his life, my son was taken care of at home. When he started going to daycare, he got sick over and over again. When he got strep throat, I had to miss three days of work to take care of him. A day after my toddler healed from strep throat, my adult son’s baby was born premature – at just 23 weeks.
I’ll never forget sitting in the hospital until 6:00 am, waiting, watching, and hoping my grandson would be okay. I was supposed to be at work at 7:00 am that morning, but I knew there was no way I could go in. So I missed another day of work.
Right there was almost a whole week of work that I missed. I had no idea how I was going to pay my bills. Shortly after this, I got sick with COVID and missed another 5 days of work. Then, my grandson had to be life-flighted to Omaha. He died there, and I needed time to grieve. I did get a few days off for bereavement, unpaid.
I’ve been figuring out how to pick up the pieces since then. I had to ask for a deferment on a loan. I paid my rent instead of my car insurance, because I know that, if I lose my housing, things will really spiral out of control. I receive SNAP assistance for food, but I can’t pay rent or buy gas to get to work with SNAP.
This whole experience made me really understand how people become homeless. A lot of us are just one tragedy away from losing it all. Paid sick leave can’t prevent bad things from happening to us, but it would give us a chance to catch our breath – and a boost to keep us going when we’re behind.”
Join Us to Collect Signatures for Paid Sick Leave
Workers, like Riesha, are the heart of all businesses. It’s why we are working to get paid sick leave on the Nebraska ballot, so that hardworking Nebraskans can take paid time off when they need to without missing a paycheck.
Will you join us to collect signatures to get paid sick leave on the 2024 ballot?