The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Earned Sick Days Are Necessary in Plainfield

I am urging my fellow council members to support the passage of Plainfield's earned sick days ordinance and to resist the propaganda pushed on us by the representatives of multi-billion dollar fast food corporations, some of whom have demonized their own workers as possibly lazy malingerers. These are corporations whose own executives and managers get the benefits that they want to exclude from their own workers. We are not talking about a large sum of money--the earned sick day for a minimum wage worker is $67.04. This is also a matter of protecting the public health. I encourage you to read the report, and to consider the helplessness of low-wage workers who often have to come to work even when they are sick. 

I worked my way through college (and for some years after) at mostly minimum wage jobs. I supported myself--I paid my own rent and bills, and had to do it without the benefit of sick days--if I didn't work, I didn't get paid. There were occasions when I just had to go in--since I had to take care of myself, financially, I had no recourse when I got sick. Many of my students (of all ages) at Essex County College are minimum wage workers--some are the sole support for their households--and they, too, work at jobs where they cannot afford to stay home when they are sick.

Earned sick days are a success, according to the Rutgers University study (just released today!) on the impact of the law one year after its implementation in Jersey City. Produced by the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers, the study (which I have read) clearly establishes the benefits of earned sick days for all working people, especially those who labor at low wages. Click on the link to read the study for yourself.

Earned Sick Days in Jersey City: A Study of Employers and Employees at Year One

As opposed to those who do not support the idea of workers receiving earned sick days, who have talked about how onerous such a mandate would be on business owners, a news article published by today notes the following from the study: "The vast majority of city businesses are reporting no problems adhering to the city's paid sick leave mandate, while a third are reporting increases in productivity and the quality of new hires and a reduction in employee turnover..." Click on the link to read:

Benefits "Evident" in Jersey City Paid Sick Time, Rutgers Study Finds

NJBIZ also notes that: "Some 84 percent of workers reported that they felt supported by their employers and another 71 percent added that they were more satisfied with their jobs, according to the study. Most workers on average reported taking three or fewer days during the year, the study also found." Click on the link to read:

A Year Later, Jersey City Says Paid Sick Leave Legislation a Success

Nine other cities in New Jersey have already passed Earned Sick Days ordinances. 
Plainfield can be the MAGIC NUMBER 10! 



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