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Jodie Levin-Epstein's picture

The MOMentum around paid sick days is huge: in the month of March alone, supporters moved the dial in three of America’s biggest cities.  Campaigns around the nation are reaching out to businesses to join in the effort.

The progress in March is notable. In Philadelphia the City Council once again approved a measure; while the Mayor again vetoed the bill, the Council has made it clear the issue will not go away.  In Portland a new sick days has been enacted and in New York the City Council agreed to a deal that will become law – even if the Mayor vetoes the measure, the Council will override it.  This means 1 million workers will now have access to paid sick days in the Big Apple alone.  Sick days’ bills are under consideration in numerous other states and cities, and Congress has reintroduced the federal Healthy Families Act. Paid sick days are already are being in implemented in Connecticut, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

When sick days’ campaigns get underway, a key step is lining up business support for a sick days law.  One of the best strategies is business-to-business messages and outreach.  In many cases, businesses that oppose these laws don’t have any experience with paid sick days and worry they’ll be burdensome to implement.  That’s why the voices of employers who have already made the change are so important.  It allows their peers to see that implementation is actually straightforward.  In fact, some employers who now voice support were skeptical when bills were pending in their own community.  These business quotes tell a compelling story:

“It is easy for me to keep track of the accrual of paid sick time in San Francisco. Our law requires that employees accrue one hour of paid time off per every thirty hours worked. My payroll system calculates it for me – it is simply 3.33% of hours worked per pay period. Once the employee reaches the maximum amount of sick leave accrued per year, then I stop adding to the leave total and roll over any remaining time at the end of the year, as is required by our law. Keeping track of paid sick time requires very little effort on my part.” Jennifer Piallat, Zazie Bistro, San Francisco

“We didn’t embrace it earlier…but in the end, it turned out to be something that was okay and pretty much a non-issue.” Dave McLean, Magnolia Pub & Brewery, San Francisco

“Implementation is not hard at all. It is very easy. All you need to do is setup your accrual rate. If you have a payroll company to help you with your payroll they will set it up for you. It is totally painless…It is not expensive at all to implement.” Deborah McClintock, Bedazzled, Washington, D.C.

To keep the momentum rolling in more states and communities, it helps to have businesses appreciate the relative ease of implementation.  So, as advocates seek to get legislators to vote in favor of sick days, we encourage you to ‘rock the quote’ and use other tools and stories to help identify and engage supportive businesses.

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