Archive for the 'General' Category

Newark Continues the Paid Sick Days Momentum

Cross-posted from the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Today, the Newark City Council built on the strong momentum we have seen around paid sick days already in 2014 by passing a paid sick days standard for New Jersey’s largest city. This is great news, and we urge Mayor Quintana to sign the ordinance right away.

Since January 1, a paid sick days law in Portland, Ore., has taken effect and a bill to expand D.C.’s paid sick days law to cover more workers was signed into law. Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to expand that city’s paid sick days law, which is set to take effect in April. And on Friday, a paid sick days law took effect in Jersey City, New Jersey. This is shaping up to be another year of progress on paid sick days.

Despite recent victories, approximately two in five workers in the United States still cannot earn paid sick days. Among them are some 38,000 people in Newark who cannot earn a single paid sick day. They are forced to choose between their own or their families’ health and their economic security when illness strikes or caregiving needs arise. And the health and well-being of the public, local businesses and the local economy suffer as a result.

The comprehensive ordinance passed today would change that by ensuring that all workers can earn the paid sick time they need. People who work in small businesses with 10 or more employees and those who work in food service, child care and direct care would be able to earn up to five paid sick days a year. People who work in smaller businesses would be able to earn up to three paid sick days a year.

This progress in Newark adds to the great momentum around paid sick days that workers and advocates have generated across the country and in New Jersey. But even with the advance in Jersey City and progress in Newark, one million people in that state still cannot earn paid sick days. New Jersey needs a statewide standard.

If Mayor Quintana signs this ordinance, Newark will become the eighth jurisdiction in the nation to guarantee workers this basic right. And we will have even more momentum for the federal standard the country urgently needs.

D.C. Poised to Strengthen Paid Sick Days Law

Cross-posted from the National Partnership for Women & Families.

It’s a good day for D.C. Today, the City Council voted unanimously to strengthen the District’s paid sick days law to cover more workers – a move that will help D.C. workers and their families, support local businesses and strengthen the economy. Mayor Gray should sign the bill into law right away.

The Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act would amend the District’s existing paid sick days law to enable tipped restaurant and bar workers to earn up to five paid sick days per year. These workers had been excluded from the law, despite obvious harmful consequences for public health. According to a 2011 survey of more than 500 D.C. restaurant workers, 59 percent say they have gone to work sick.

The bill will also allow all workers to accrue paid sick days immediately, and begin using them after 90 days on the job, eliminating the requirement that they be at a job for one year and 1,000 hours.

We learned this summer that D.C.’s paid sick days law has been a big success in increasing the number of people with paid sick days in the District, but it still leaves too many workers behind, unable to earn the paid sick time they need. The bill the Council advanced today would fix that, allowing an additional 20,000 workers to earn the paid sick days they need.

It is also great news for the District that the Council passed an overdue increase in the minimum wage. This is a major victory for low-wage workers in one of the country’s most expensive places to live. We urge the Council to prioritize an increase in the tipped minimum wage, which is urgently needed as well.

We commend the dedicated Paid Sick Days for All coalition and all Council members who are committed to realizing the full promise of the District’s paid sick days law. Today’s action adds to the momentum for paid sick days and other family friendly policies we have seen throughout the country this year. We look forward to adding this victory for D.C.’s working families to the list.

Video: Charlotte News Anchors and Residents Make the Case for Paid Sick Days

In a seemingly impromptu discussion of work and family policies this week, two news anchors at a FOX affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, offered their opinions on why both paid sick days and paid maternity leave should be basic workplace standards. Ashley Anderson and Morgan Fogarty point to public health benefits and basic fairness as reasons to adopt these common sense policies.As Fogarty put it: “I don’t know how you create [an] educated, happy, successful, engaged, efficient workforce if you don’t treat them like human beings who have lives and families.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Check out the anchors’ exchange, followed by residents of Charlotte expressing their support for guaranteeing workers a minimum number of paid sick days:

 

Coast to Coast, Paid Sick Days Activity Continues

The busy 2011 legislative season continues with paid sick days activity and excitement on both coasts and in the nation’s capital. This week, hundreds of paid sick days advocates, policy experts, workers and business leaders from 23 states gathered in Washington, D.C., for the National Summit on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave (co-hosted by the National Partnership for Women & Families and Family Values @ Work). The two-day event was an opportunity to share new research, creative ideas and best practices for securing paid sick days policies at the municipal, state and federal levels.

On Tuesday, workers and advocates participated in a “day of action” on Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress and their staff about the federal Healthy Families Act and local efforts to establish paid sick days standards in their states and cities. One of those advocates, Jameelah Ferrell from the 9to5 Atlanta delegation, agreed to share her day with the thousands of workers and advocates around the country who couldn’t make it to Washington for the event. Check out the photos and video from her day:

In total, advocates visited nearly one hundred Congressional offices, making the day of action a big success.

And it doesn’t stop there. Last week, the Seattle City Council held a hearing on the city’s new paid sick days bill – a “common ground” proposal hammered out by paid sick days proponents and local business owners. Paid sick days supporters packed the hearing room as the council heard positive testimony from small business owners, public health professionals, workers, mothers of young children and others. An increasing number of employers have signed on to the proposal in recent weeks, building significant momentum for the bill. As restaurant owner Makini Howell so perfectly said, “All of us get sick. I can’t afford losing good employees. And I don’t want to serve H1N1 with your fries.”

On the East Coast, Connecticut’s new paid sick days law, signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy on July 1st, coincides with activity in a neighboring state. Today, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a hearing on its state’s paid sick days bill, S. 930, which would let workers in the state earn up to seven paid sick days each year.

All of this promising activity shows growing momentum following the Connecticut victory. With all the positive energy and commitment we saw at a great national meeting, we look forward to sharing the progress of the vigorous, smart and strategic campaigns around the country in the weeks and months to come.

Connecticut Makes History

Today is a great day for workers in Connecticut, and a day that offers hope to tens of millions of workers throughout the country who cannot now earn paid sick time, no matter how long they hold a job or how solid their work record is. After an impressive campaign, steady political leadership and strong advocacy from supporters in the state, Connecticut’s General Assembly has passed the first statewide paid sick days law. It’s a huge and historic victory for workers in the state and, we hope, the first step in a new wave of progress on this issue.

With Governor Dannel Malloy poised to sign the bill, Connecticut will soon join San Francisco and the District of Columbia in giving workers a well-deserved, common-sense right to earn paid sick days. It wasn’t a quick or easy victory. We have been working with allies in Connecticut, including the Working Families Organization and Everybody Benefits coalition, for years – conducting research, commissioning polls, testifying, speechifying, editorializing and so much more. Today, we know it was well worth it.

That’s because the new law means that hundreds of thousands of workers in Connecticut will no longer have to report to work sick and spread contagion to co-workers or customers. Parents who can ill afford to miss a day of work or risk their job will no longer have to leave sick children home alone or send them to school or daycare where they can infect other children. Cash-strapped working families in the state will no longer have to lose pay – and jeopardize their economic security – when illness strikes.

That’s already the case in San Francisco, where a paid sick days law has been in place for more than four years. Today, the San Francisco law is a widely-recognized success; it’s even won support from some who once opposed it.

It is time for lawmakers in all cities and states, and at the federal level, to recognize that adopting a paid sick days standard should be a priority. More than 40 million workers in this country – and more than 80 percent of low-wage workers – don’t have a single paid sick day to recover from illness or care for their families. That’s bad for workers, bad for families, bad for businesses, bad for economies and bad for public health.

We can do better. Connecticut is helping to blaze a trail and show us a better way. Let’s hope that lawmakers in other cities and states – including Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle and New York City – soon do the same.

Connecticut may be the first state to adopt a statewide paid sick days measure, but we are determined that it won’t be the last. No worker in this country should have to choose between health and a paycheck or even a job. With this victory in Connecticut, we’re one step closer to making that a reality for all working families.

Paid Sick Days Committee Victories in Connecticut and Philadelphia

The push for paid sick days took a significant step forward this week as lawmakers in Connecticut, Illinois and Philadelphia held public hearings on the impact that establishing a paid sick days standard could have on working families, businesses and public health. Committees in Connecticut and Philadelphia voted to advance paid sick days legislation. Amidst efforts to disempower workers elsewhere, the hearings and votes are encouraging signs that issues affecting working families have not been forgotten — and that progress is possible.

In Philadelphia, City Council members listened to nearly five hours of testimony on establishing a paid sick days standard in the city. Currently, 210,000 workers — about 40 percent of the city’s private-sector workforce — lack paid sick time. Bill No. 080474, the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces ordinance, would ensure that these workers can take time off to recover from their own illness, to care for a sick family member or to seek medical care. The Public Health and Human Services committee vote is a major victory for advocates and the city. Next stop: The full City Council.

In Connecticut, where Governor Dan Malloy made paid sick days part of his campaign, advocates held a press conference and rallied outside the Capitol in advance of Connecticut’s first hearing on Senate Bill 913, An Act Mandating Employers Provide Paid Sick Leave to Employees. The hearing included powerful testimony on the legislation, which would provide access to earned paid sick time to about 257,000 workers in the state. The Labor Committee voted 6-5 to advance the legislation. Next stop: The Senate Judiciary Committee. Be sure to check out a new video from coalition member Half in Ten that features compelling stories from Connecticut workers and puts real faces on the need for a paid sick days standard in the state.

Also this week, Illinois legislators considered statewide paid sick days legislation. The state’s Senate Labor Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 128, the Healthy Workplace Act, and then held the bill for further consideration. In a state where 77 percent of the lowest-income workers lack paid sick time, the legislation would have a significant impact on Illinois’ working families.

There is no doubt that the action in these three states has made for a big week in the effort to ensure all working families in the United States have access to paid sick days. In this economy, there couldn’t be a more important time for working families to make their voices heard, especially in support of common-sense policies that are proven to have a positive effect on workers, businesses and our communities.

Here at PaidSickDays.org we will continue to keep you updated on what is happening around the country. Get or stay involved in your local campaign and be sure to spread the word. Together, we will keep the momentum going.

Paid Sick Days Champion Wins Connecticut Governorship

Dan Malloy, former mayor of Stamford, Connecticut, and staunch supporter of paid sick days, was elected governor of Connecticut earlier this month — demonstrating the importance of paid sick days to working families in Connecticut, and the power the issue can have in an election. Governor-elect Malloy has argued that paid sick days are a basic right “that should be afforded to any working person,” including hourly employees. He made paid sick days a key issue in the Democratic primary and emphasized the issue again at the end of his general election campaign (read more of Malloy’s statements on the importance of paid sick days here).

Malloy’s governorship, along with the history of paid sick days legislation in the state legislature, positions Connecticut to be the first state in the nation to pass a paid sick days law — paving the way for other states throughout the country. Each house of Connecticut’s General Assembly has demonstrated support for paid sick days by passing paid sick days legislation in previous sessions. Connecticut advocates have been calling for a statewide standard that would allow workers to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked. Governor-elect Malloy’s victory and unwavering support for paid sick time make these standards — and a brighter future for workers in Connecticut — closer than ever to becoming reality.

To learn more about Connecticut’s paid sick days campaign and get involved, visit http://everybodybenefits.org/.

To find out about paid sick days campaigns in your state, check out our our interactive map.

UPDATE: Speaker Quinn Won’t Move on NYC Paid Sick Time Act

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s decision to oppose the New York City Paid Sick Time Act — despite a supermajority in the City Council that is in favor of the bill — is incredibly disappointing.

Bowing to scare tactics and despite evidence to the contrary, Quinn’s decision is a costly one for more than one million workers in New York City who do not have a single paid sick day, including most employees in the food service industry and most low-wage workers. Workers without paid sick days are forced to put their jobs and economic security at risk every time they need to take time off to recover from illness or care for a sick family member.

The Paid Sick Time Act would address this problem, and the bill’s lead sponsor Councilwoman Gale Brewer pledges to continue the fight.

Pennsylvania Paid Sick Days Advocates Working Hard During the Dog Days

While many of us spend time in August vacationing at the beach or in the mountains, Pennsylvania advocates took a trip to their state capitol in Harrisburg — to push for a state paid sick days law. Today, the Pennsylvania House Labor Relations Committee held a long-awaited hearing on H.B. 1830, the Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act. The proposed paid sick time law would allow Pennsylvania’s workers to earn up to 6.5 days of paid sick time annually to take care of their own or a family member’s illness or to seek preventive health care. Survivors of domestic violence would be able to use sick time to obtain medical or legal help or to seek relocation services.

The Committee heard testimony from advocates and experts, including representatives of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and WOMEN’S WAY, and from Pennsylvania workers. The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, which is backing H.B. 1830, held a press conference prior to the hearing with the bill’s legislative sponsor, Representative Marc Gergely (D-Allegheny).

If you live in Pennsylvania, take a moment to contact your state representatives to ask them to support the bill. After today’s high-profile hearing — and hearing from state activists — legislators will be hard-pressed to put off action on paid sick days.

It’s amazing what can be done during the dog days of August!

NYC’s horses get time off…will the City’s workers?

Yesterday, advocates in New York City rallied in favor of paid sick days legislation next to the carriage horses in Central Park.

What’s the connection to the horses? It’s because in April, the New York City Council voted to give city carriage horses five weeks of annual vacation — and yet, after two hearings and ample time for study, the City Council has yet to vote on the New York City Paid Sick Time Act, which would give paid time off to sick humans.

Even the horses look perplexed at the vote’s hold-up.

Horse

The Paid Sick Time Act currently has a veto-proof majority of support in the Council (36 of the Council’s 51 members are co-sponsors, including the Chair of the Labor Committee), but Council Speaker Christine Quinn has not yet allowed the bill to be brought to the floor. The legislation would allow workers to earn one hour of sick leave for every thirty hours worked, up to nine days per year for workers in larger businesses and up to five days per year for workers in smaller businesses. The paid sick days could be used when a worker or a worker’s child or close relative is ill or needs routine medical care.

The Central Park rally was sponsored by A Better Balance, Make the Road New York, Restaurant Opportunities Center New York, and the Working Families Party, who lead the coalition supporting the Paid Sick Time Act.