We’ve all heard the heartwarming tales where employees from a company stepped up to donate leave to their coworkers battling cancer.
The media paints a heartwarming picture. The favorite colleague fights a horrific battle, but with everyone’s help, they push through and survive while keeping their job.
But if you pause to think about it, you realize it’s not heartwarming at all.
What is Leave Donation
In the United States, many companies have a leave donation program. These programs allow employees to donate their earned leave to their coworkers in need.
People rely on donated leave to seek treatment for severe illnesses like cancer and recover from accidents.
It’s a common occurrence made popular because the US lacks worker protections.
Symptom of the Big Problem
One person came to Reddit lamenting the practice of leave donations. The fact that employees have to give up their hard-earned leave to support a colleague is symptomatic of the massive issues inherent in American society.
People must donate their leave because the US doesn’t offer paid sick leave. In fact, it’s one of the only industrialized nations in the world that doesn’t mandate some type of paid time off for people who are sick.
Evil Corporations Force Leave Donations
Even outside mandates, the fact that employees must donate their leave to help their coworkers through trying times showcases how evil many corporations are.
Most could actually afford to keep paying employees while they’re struggling with an illness; they choose not to. These multimillion-dollar entities would rather force other employees to pay for it than pick up the tab themselves.
In addition, many would just as soon fire someone dealing with a medical emergency than keep them on the books. A sick employee not working simply takes up valuable space on the books, and cutting them loose is more profitable.
Our profits-before-people model encourages unscrupulous behavior like this.
It Shouldn’t Be on the Company
Of course, companies are only in business for one reason, and that’s to make a profit. Many can’t afford to retain and pay sick employees.
It’s not a company’s responsibility to care for the populace.
It’s the Government’s Responsibility
The government’s ultimate responsibility is to its people. A good government should ensure that sick people don’t become destitute. It should provide for those who can’t provide for themselves, and it should enact regulations to ensure that companies with money don’t treat laborers without money unfairly.
The US government fails in all regards.
FMLA Doesn’t Cut It
The US does have FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), but it’s not nearly enough.
First, it doesn’t mandate paid leave, only unpaid. Second, it only offers twelve weeks (unpaid, of course), which isn’t enough to get through many serious illnesses. And third, it exempts small companies, meaning millions of American workers have no coverage.
People Can’t Afford To Get Sick
The outrageous cost of healthcare coupled with the lack of paid time off for medical care means people in the US can’t afford to get sick.
They can’t afford treatment in general, and they can’t afford to skip work to seek treatment. As a result, we have a sicker populace and more deaths from preventable causes.
Is the US the Best?
If the United States can’t even care for its people when they’re at their worst, how can we call ourselves the best country in the world?
Every other country has enacted policies and regulations that protect the most vulnerable. America needs to catch up.
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