Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Paid Sick Days Poll

This weekend, Parade Magazine, the country’s most widely-read magazine, featured a story on paid sick days. Now, Parade is conducting an online poll, asking its readers: “Should employers be required to offer paid sick days?”

Help us send the message loud and clear that paid sick days are much-needed—and strongly supported—by taking Parade’s online poll. Parade is distributed by over 400 Sunday newspapers, including several major papers, and reaches an estimated 71 million readers. This article and online poll will help paid sick days campaigns across the nation reach a broad, new audience.

Please take a moment to check out the article and, most importantly, cast your vote in Parade’s online poll, and forward it to your members, friends and coworkers in a show of support for paid sick days for everyone.

contributed by Loretta Line
YWCAs Illinois Advocacy Manager


Loretta said...

Some people may wonder how this kind of poll can have any impact. The question seems vague. How many paid sick days are we talking about? 1, 12 or 365? If you had an employee with a long-term chronic illness, you could be talking a lot of days each year. Many small businesses can’t sustain that type of financial support.

Well, that’s for sure! This kind of poll is really about exposing people to the idea…..better to get it out there so there can at least be a debate about it.

The bill in Illinois calls for all employees to be able to EARN sick days each year. The amount they earn is based on how many hours they work…. For a 40 hr/week employee, the max earned per year is 7 days and they can’t be accumulated beyond 7. Part-time workers would earn the same rate pro-rated, so if a person works 20 hours per week, every week, all year, they could accrue 3.5 days for that year.

These things are tough to think about when they have not ever been done by a small business, but it is not dissimilar to the requirement of paying a minimum wage. Everyone had to bite the bullet to begin with, but then it becomes status quo (and the right thing to do). The threat of cutting back on insurance and other benefits to compensate for offering sick pay may well be a red herring, since those who don’t offer sick pay often don’t offer insurance, either. There are studies out there that indicate that it is actually cheaper in the long run to give the sick pay rather than have workers show up sick thus having turtle-paced productivity and infecting the next worker, who in turn gets sick.

Our local association is struggling with our racial justice work and does not offer sick pay to some of the very, very part-time workers…. So we are in the same boat with other small businesses, feeling like it would be a stretch, but we also know it is the right thing to do. I don’t want to be afraid to support something just because we aren’t there yet.

It’s funny to think about, but there are some unions who are also against the bill…. because they want the power to negotiate their member’s sick-pay away in order to get something else. I guess there are always a million reasons why something won’t work…. Like eliminating racism & empowering women, I suppose… :)

Loretta Line

Advocacy Manager
YWCAs Illinois
1215 Church St
Evanston, Illinois 60201

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