Time to own up: Paid sick days make sense

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

By Ellen Bravo

Imagine the scene: Someone tries to convince you there’s a wolf in the area about to cause great harm. The person offers to protect you – and then asks for generous handouts to help that effort.

Only problem: There’s no wolf.

Such is the case with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC). Unable to defeat a ballot measure in 2008 in support of paid sick days, passed by nearly 70% of the electorate, MMAC took to the courts. The organization has tried to convince business owners that paid sick days would be a monster of a wolf, wreaking havoc on our fair city. And now it’s asking businesses to raise a boatload of money as well.

But this wolf, like the one in the fairy tale, turns out to be fake.

Read more from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel »

Sick Days for All Workers

Via The Retiree Advocate:

New coalition aims for a healthier Seattle through paid sick days for all workers

By Alex Stone

It should be as fundamental a standard as the minimum wage and the 40-hour work week. Yet one million Washington workers can’t take a single paid day off from work when they – or their children or their elderly parents – get sick.

Among them is Amber, a 22 year old Seattle-area mother with a 3 year old son. Amber’s current job as a kitchen staffer doesn’t offer her paid time off to care for her son when he gets sick. “When my son was sick, I had to call in sick because he couldn’t go to daycare,” Amber says. “I had to take two days off without pay and I regretted it because I have bills to pay and now I am behind”.

Amber’s story is commonplace in the food service industry, where just 16% of employers offer full-time workers paid sick days, and only 2% offer them to part-time employees. It’s no wonder nearly half of “stomach flu” related outbreaks are linked to ill food service workers. Continue reading

Why you should care about paid sick leave

From The Washington Post:

Serving While Sick

If you’re about to eat in a restaurant, you should read this first.

Or then again, maybe you’d rather not.

A report being released at a Congressional hearing later this morning by the D.C.-based Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (“a national restaurant workers’ organization, comprised of restaurant worker organizations across the country,” according to its Web site) says, among other key findings from its survey of more than 4,000 restaurant workers nationwide, that “nearly 90% of workers said they did not receive paid sick days. As a result, two thirds of respondents said they had worked while sick in the previous year, preparing, cooking and serving food.”

Ick.

Read more from The Washington Post »

Grandparents are the glue that hold many families together

In honor of Grandparents Day on September 12, the National Partnership for Women and Families has released a new fact sheet to remind us of the impact grandparents can have in the lives of working families.

Grandparents are often relied on as critical support systems to families with both parents in the workforce — to be the babysitters, shuttle to school, or stand-in nurse when a child is sick. But not all grandparents are able to provide care — and some are ailing themselves — putting the economic security of working families at risk when a child or aging parent needs care.

There is no federal law guaranteeing workers job-protected leave when they need to take time off to care for an ailing parent or child. In Washington state the Family Care Act allows workers to use sick leave to care or an ill child or ailing parent, but for the thousands of Washington workers without paid sick leave and their parents, this legislation provides no relief.

This fact sheet makes four recommendations for honoring our nation’s grandparents, and fighting for workplace policies that will strengthen the economic security of all working families.

Read the fact sheet »

U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce offers support for paid sick days

The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce has just posted a fact sheet, “How Women-Owned Businesses Can Support Paid Sick Days“, expressing support for federal action to guarantee a minimum standard of paid sick days.

The USWCC statement from Margot Dorfman, CEO:

“The U.S.Women’s Chamber of Commerce supports a minimum standard for paid sick days. Healthy businesses need healthy workers, which is precisely what paid sick days accomplish. Women-run businesses are on the forefront by typically offering such benefits because they understand the needs of working women and their families. Paid sick days are an investment in our families, our  workforce, and our health that we cannot afford to do without.” — Margot Dorfman, CEO, Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Find the post here.

Imagining A World With Paid Sick Days

By Linda Meric,  from njtoday.net

There are many areas of life in this country where it appears that we live in two worlds. And that’s no different when we consider paid sick days. In the first world, if you’re sick, you stay home from work, take care of yourself, and have the time to get better.

In the second world, if you’re sick, you go to work anyway. In the second world, you go to work, even when your child is sick. You know that if you stay home, you’ll lose pay – or maybe even your job.

As we approach Women’s Equality Day on August 26, the day that marks the 90th anniversary of women’s right to vote, it’s troubling that so many of the workers who live in the second world are women.

The U.S. is one of only four industrialized nations that do not offer a national standard of paid sick days. It just isn’t right. I wonder what the suffragettes, who worked so hard and so long to win women’s right to vote, would say about the lack of this basic workplace standard.

Read more from NJ Today

Good for business: Paid sick days level the playing field for workers

A report from ABC News examines the salary gap between working women with children and those without kids, finding that women with children earn just 75% of men’s wages (compared to 90% for women without kids) — on average, $11,000 less per year.

The report includes an interview with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director of MomsRising.org, asking her about pay discrimination against mothers — and how the playing field can be leveled to give all workers a fair shake.

“We have a 1950s work-policy structure, but we have a modern labor force… Now more than 50% of the labor force are women for the first time in history, but that doesn’t mean we’ve reached full equality,” said Kristin. “Passing family-friendly programs like family leave, like affordable childcare, like access to paid sick days, like access to flexible work options. Those things actually help lower the wage gap between women and men and they raise all boats– because it’s not just moms who need those policies.”

But paid sick days aren’t only good for moms, dads and workers without kids — paid sick days also make sense for businesses.

Allowing all workers — from waiters and waitresses, to nursing home staff, to childcare workers — to take a day off without penalty when they or they children get sick can save the business thousands of dollars in lost productivity, wages, and health care costs. Paid sick days help workers and businesses alike maintain economic stability, especially during times of economic uncertainty.

Read more: Paid sick days legislation makes sense for all businesses