The Stranger: Should Restaurant Owners Pay Workers Who Are Home Sick?

Seattle’s weekly newspaper The Stranger just posted an article about paid sick days titled Eating the Cost: Should Restaurant Owners Pay Workers Who Are Home Sick?.

The title of the article poses the question, but doesn’t answer it – so it’s up to you to show your support for paid sick days in the comment section!

Read the article and post your comments ASAP! »

From The Stranger:

Within a few weeks, Seattle City Council member Nick Licata intends to introduce legislation that would require every business in Seattle to provide paid sick leave for its workers—one hour of accrued leave for every 30 hours worked. It’s modeled on a four-year-old San Francisco ordinance that applies to all workers, even temporary and part-time employees, which many say has been successful. But the as-yet-unseen Seattle proposal already has an army of business owners gearing up for a fight. And while that fight brews among the obvious players—large trade organizations, business groups, and labor unions—another fight is dividing people who are usually allies: local restaurant owners.

“My employees don’t want paid sick days; they want health insurance and retirement,” says Dave Meinert, co-owner of Capitol Hill’s Big Mario’s and owner of the 5 Point Cafe downtown. Meinert’s argument is a common refrain—offering paid sick leave will cut into the other benefits employers could offer. He’s not alone. Successful restaurateurs such as Linda Derschang (owner of Linda’s Tavern, Smith, Oddfellows Cafe, and others) and John Howie (owner of the Seastar restaurants) are against the plan, as is the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Washington Restaurant Association president Anthony Anton says the measure could cost restaurants up to $175,000 a year. All of them have been lobbying the city council to kill the proposal before Licata even introduces it.

“If the city mandates this benefit, I can’t offer my employees the benefits they want,” Meinert continues. “If my employee costs go up, some other cost must go down.”

Others disagree.

“I love you, but you’re wrong,” counters Molly Neitzel, owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, which has one of its shops around the corner from Meinert’s pizza joint. Neitzel offers her 65 employees full health coverage and accrued paid time off. She says the cost of replacing an employee—who’s unhappy at a job or lured away by an employer offering better benefits—is far higher than offering paid time off. “When you offer good benefits to your employees, they value their jobs,” she says. “They stick around.”

Read the full article: Eating the Cost: Should Restaurant Owners Pay Workers Who Are Home Sick? »

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