In support of Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee’s
bill that would require some businesses to give paid, sick days to employees,
the Philadelphia chapter of NOW wrote an Op-Ed that is published in today’s
Philadelphia Inquirer. The bill would
help those who are financially vulnerable, and would make for healthier
workplaces, to boot. Read on, and tell
your councilmember what you think!
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, March 12, 2013:
“Philly workers need sick-leave bill
Tammy L. Gavitt
POSTED: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 3:01 AM
In an economy where many of us can at least tread water,
Philadelphia's low-income workers are drowning. About two out of five workers
in Philadelphia have no paid sick leave.
In response, a City Council committee last week approved a
sick-leave ordinance that would require Philadelphia businesses of six or more
employees to provide a limited number of earned, paid sick days. A vote before
the full Council could come as early as this week.
Businesses can easily supply a nominal amount of paid sick
days. Allowing workers to recuperate from illness without fear of docked pay,
or job loss, will result in healthier workers and an overall reduction in
communicable disease. Right now, 90 percent of food-service workers do not have
paid sick days, and about 70 percent go to work sick, according to the
Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR). It is estimated that employees
sick at work engender lower productivity, which costs employers $160 billion
per year nationwide.
This is also a women's issue: Women comprise about half of
the workforce, but there is a greater chance of men having paid sick days than
women. The service industry, which has more female employees than men, is not
as likely as other industries to provide paid sick leave. Further, 80 percent
of children's doctor visits are handled by women, yet half of working mothers
do not have paid sick leave, and neither do about two-thirds of women with low
Mayor Nutter vetoed a sick-leave bill in 2011, sympathetic
to the businesses that feared the bill would mean extra costs. However, some
business owners have voiced support for the measure, and there is scant proof
that it has damaged job markets.
San Francisco enacted a sick-leave law in 2006, and IWPR has
found that not only do most employers now support it, but also that employees
do not often abuse the law. Gov. Daniel Malloy of Connecticut, the first state
to authorize paid sick leave, said that he has spoken with employers who
"now admit it really wasn't that big of a deal," according to the
Wall Street Journal. A study there showed that the five-day sick-leave policy
cost employers only 0.4 percent of their sales revenue annually.
In addition, according to IWPR, paid sick leave is thought
to provide $52 million in gains to employers annually, primarily due to less
job turnover, while supplying the sick days costs $51 million. Further, the
institute recently released a study indicating that if all employees in
Philadelphia had paid sick days, there would be $10.3 million saved each year
in health-care bills due to a reduction of 12,188 emergency-room visits.
Paid sick leave is good for workers, families, and public
health, and has a nominal impact on businesses. We urge you to contact your
Council member and ask him or her to vote yes.
Tammy L. Gavitt is president of the Philadelphia Chapter of
the National Organization for Women.”