Monthly Archive for September, 2011

It’s Official – Seattle Will Guarantee Paid Sick Days!

With the stroke of a pen today, Mayor Mike McGinn secured a groundbreaking victory for the people of Seattle. The city will now become the third in the U.S. to give workers the right to earn the paid sick days they need – and deserve.

Congratulations to the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce for such an effective campaign. Its emphasis on an unprecedented collaboration between workers, businesses, legislators and advocates provides cities and states across the country with a powerful model. And now, nearly 190,000 workers can rest easier knowing they will soon no longer have to choose between their health and their economic security.

There is no doubt that momentum for paid sick days is building. The historic victory in Connecticut in June and the law signed in Seattle today will increase the number of workers with paid sick days by hundreds of thousands. Three cities and one state will now guarantee this basic right.

Next up is the election in Denver in November, where a paid sick days standard will be on the ballot. It is an exciting time. Stay tuned as the momentum and victories continue!

Victory in Seattle!

Cross-posted from National Partnership for Women & Families.

It is an exciting day for Seattle workers. After a tireless campaign that brought together workers, business leaders, lawmakers and advocates like never before, Seattle City Council members voted 8-1 in support of a strong paid sick days standard for the city.

As National Partnership President Debra Ness said after the vote: “Momentum for paid sick days is building, and public support is strong across the nation. Seattle has created a model that demonstrates that workers and businesses have shared interests and can work together to ensure workers’ access to paid sick days. It is a welcome change from the scorched-earth opposition we have seen from organized business interests in other places – and it is a wise course.”

Mayor McGinn is expected to sign the bill, making Seattle the third city to have a job-protected paid sick days law. Then, nearly 190,000 workers will be able to rest easier knowing that they will no longer have to make the tough decision between a paycheck and the health of their loved ones.

Passage of this bill is more evidence of the growing momentum and public support for paid sick days in this country. Congratulations to the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce and the workers, businesses and lawmakers who made this possible. Thanks to your hard work, we are another step closer to the national paid sick days standard all working families and our communities need.

Contagion: Not Just a Movie

On the heels of the release of the new blockbuster Contagion – a frightening film about a global flu pandemic – our coalition partner Family Values @ Work has compiled real-life stories about how the flu and other illnesses can spread, particularly when more than 44 million workers in the United States have no paid sick days to use when they become ill or injured. Millions more have no paid sick days to care for a sick child or close family member.

During the H1N1 outbreak, an estimated seven million people in the U.S. caught the flu from their co-workers. Every day, workers who have significant interaction with the public – such as those working in food service, child care and personal care – are forced to go to work sick because they don’t have paid sick days. Contagion may be fictional but, without a national paid sick days standard, the country faces a very real threat to public health.

Our workers, families and communities deserve better.

Check out Contagion: Not Just a Movie:

Hats off to Family Values @ Work for shedding light on real stories of contagion.

Paid Sick Days Vital for Grandparents

Grandparents provide a critical support system for families – especially in tough times. As caregivers and workers, they are the glue that holds many families together.

Grandparents help with child care, taking kids to the doctor, back-to-school shopping – you name it. Nearly four in 10 grandparents say they have cared for a grandchild in the past year, and an estimated 6.4 million grandparents live with their grandchildren.

As the recession has cost millions of workers, including younger ones with children, their jobs, many have turned to their own parents for help. In other families, parents turn to grandparents for help when they are in the military and stationed overseas, fall ill, or for other reasons. Today, 5.8 million children, nearly 8 percent of all children, live with a grandparent who is the head of the household. That’s the largest percentage in 40 years, up 4.5 million since 2000.

Grandparents are taking on significant caregiving responsibilities. At the same time, many are working later in life. Older workers are staying in the workforce longer because of the economic strain caused by the recession, lost retirement savings and, presumably for many, increased financial dependence from their families. When employed grandparents can’t earn paid sick days, managing their responsibilities at work and home can be close to impossible.

What’s more, grandparents today are not only caregivers and breadwinners; many also need care. Millions of workers care for aging or ill family members. Nearly one in 10 unpaid family caregivers is caring for an elderly parent or parent-in-law. When these caregiving workers can’t take time away from work to help a loved one get to a doctor’s appointment or provide critical care, the health and well-being of our nation’s grandparents is seriously threatened.

This Grandparents Day, what America’s grandparents really need are family friendly policies like job-protected paid sick days. These public policies are vital to their ability to meet their work and family responsibilities and get the care they need, without jeopardizing the economic security of their families. States and cities are leading the way toward a national standard. It’s time for Congress to honor grandparents and all working families by passing the Healthy Families Act.

Connecticut Poll: Paid Sick Days are a Voting Issue

Cross-posted from National Partnership for Women & Families.

Connecticut recently became the first state to pass a law offering many workers the right to earn paid sick days. Now new poll results released by the National Partnership for Women & Families for Labor Day reveal that a majority of the state’s voters look favorably upon the law – and the lawmakers who voted for it:

“[T]he issue of paid sick days brings together a consensus coalition of voters from across the political spectrum,” Hart Research concluded […]. “An overwhelming share of voters believes that paid sick days laws protect working families and balance the needs of employees and employers. Moreover, the survey results show that paid sick days has significant potential as a mobilizing issue during campaigns and elections, and particularly energizes hard-to-reach constituencies.”

Learn more about the poll results in our news release.