November is turning out to be a great month for paid sick days! Last week, Milwaukee became the third city with a paid sick days law, and the second one to include paid safe days, when its ballot initiative passed by a vote of 68% to 32%.
And today, Washington D.C.’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act goes into effect after a legislatively required six-month waiting period. The law requires all employers and the D.C. government to provide paid sick and safe time to employees. Employees earn a certain amount of paid time off for every hour that they work. An employee in a company with 1-24 employees will earn up to 3 days per year; an employee in a company with 25-99 employees will earn up to 5 days per year; and an employee with 100 or more employees will earn up to 7 days per year. The regulations for the new law have not been released, which means that some of the contradictory or unclear provisions remain that way. Nevertheless, the new law does go into effect – and we hope that the regulations will be coming soon!
Workers in cities throughout the U.S. are quickly realizing paid sick days are a basic workplace right. Studies have shown paid sick days encourage employees to stay home rather than spread an illness throughout the workplace, boosting productivity. And it allows parents time to tend to sick children, speeding recovery from illness and boosting workplace morale.
Preventive health care, lower family costs, family economic security, higher productivity, and healthier children are the result. And a happy and healthy workforce that will strengthen our American economy is what we need in these difficult economic times.
Special thanks to Karen Minatelli, Director, Work and Family Programs