Last Thursday, March 24, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld a upheld Milwaukee’s voter-approved paid sick days ordinance.
The city joins San Francisco and Washington, D.C. as one of three U.S. cities that ensure every worker can earn paid sick leave on the job — part of a larger national trend that, in 2010, saw more than 25 states and cities with similar campaigns or legislation under consideration. In 2011 it appears more cities — and even states — may be successful.
A campaign to ensure workers can earn paid sick days is in full swing in Connecticut. It’s the campaign’s third year, but this year a bipartisan coalition of legislators is supportive of the paid sick days bill, and newly-elected Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, who sees it as a public health issue, made his support of paid sick days a campaign issue.
In Philadelphia, a paid sick days bill passed the City Council which would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time per 30 hours worked. But Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter opposes the bill, and has thus far refused to sign it.
And last fall in New York City, the City Council supported a paid sick days bill with a 35 member veto-proof majority. At the time, Council Speaker Christine Quinn refused to allow the bill a vote – although she promised to revive it at a later date. Maybe this will be the year?
With today’s changing workforce, the need for paid sick days is becoming more apparent in many cities – including those that without active campaigns, like Cincinnati. Here in Seattle, more than 200,000 working people can’t earn paid sick days on the job. Many of these workers are the same people who serve our famous coffee and make great food for local restaurants.
It’s time for Seattle to join the push for paid sick days too. From a public health point of view, it’s a no-brainer — paid sick days are the responsible thing to do to prevent the spread of contagious disease, reduce infection rates among the vulnerable, and keep our food safe.
And from a family care perspective, it’s equally sensible. Every one of us — fathers like Frank, mothers like Amber, and workers like Victoria — needs some time to care for their children, or their own health, without risking their job or sacrificing their economic security.
You can learn more about the benefits of paid sick days for Seattle here.