City Council-members, as well as Healthy Tacoma, received this encouraging letter from one of our local supporters of paid sick days. We want to thank the individual/business owner that sent this in to City Council. We hope it inspires others (like you) to share their stories as well!
“Dear City Council-members,
I don’t understand why there is even a question whether employees should be paid for sick-days. For as long as I have been in business all of my employees who worked at least 35 hours a week earned a certain number of hours towards paid sick-days they could use within that year. The rate at which they would accumulate depended on the years they worked for me. So a new employee accumulated fewer hours than a loyal employee who stayed with my company. The same went for vacation days.
Maybe I offered this because I grew up in Germany and it was just the way business was conducted there. I also offered health-insurance for many years until it was just impossible to pay for it any more, especially since the competition didn’t provide it and I couldn’t very well raise our prices as quickly and by as much as the health-insurance went up which was over 20% in some years. If every employer would have to provide the same benefits to their employees, the playing field would be even.
To me it makes no sense to have a sick employee service customers or do any kind of work. First of all the sick employee cannot possibly provide excellent service and secondly you don’t want your customers to get sick at your place of business or they stay away.
I don’t understand why this should be a local issue. The federal government and the State regulate pretty much everything that has to do with business. In this country we treat those who do the actual work in such a demeaning way and don’t care for their well being first and foremost. Equipment gets serviced regularly so it stays in top condition and it is generally treated better than most employees. People do better when they feel appreciated and when they are rested and allowed to ‘recharge their batteries’.
If we have to start at the local level, than I am totally supportive of Tacoma requiring employers to provide paid sick-days to employees.”
We are pleased to announce that the Tacoma Food Cooperative (TFC) Board of Directors has endorsed Paid Sick Days! Focusing on a healthy community, TFC realizes the importance of keeping people home when they are sick to protect public health. When people work sick to protect their family’s financial health, they spread disease. Thank you TFC for helping to make Tacoma a better place!
The Tacoma Food Coop is a member-owned grocery store on 6th Avenue in Tacoma. It provides natural and locally sourced food to benefit our community.
“The member-owners of the Tacoma Food Co-op recognized the need for an affordable urban natural foods grocery that would provide local, organic, and natural foods, as well as a community around those foods. We envision our store becoming the nucleus of a much larger circle of relationships that will directly impact the local food supply and the health and well-being of the greater Tacoma community.”
The Tacoma Food Co-Op is open Mon – Fri 8am – 9pm and Sat 10am – 7pm. There is free parking along the side of the store.
State Representative David Sawyer supports Tacoma’s Paid Sick Days ordinance. He is also a co-sponsor of House Bill 1313, which would establish a minimum standard for sick and safe leave for the state of Washington.
“When it comes to paid sick days, I know that people relying on minimum wage have it the hardest, providing necessities to their families and working hard without these important benefits. About 40% of Tacoma workers don’t get paid sick days, and this needs to change.
It is my commitment to make our state better for middle-class families and children, both now and in the future. By providing paid sick leave, businesses can ensure that everyone has the chance to work hard and earn paid sick time off –not just a privileged few.
I support paid sick days because it is the right thing to do for working families and individuals. I hope that you will back me in this decision and realize how important it is to support local policies such as Tacoma Paid Sick Days to strengthen future statewide legislation for working families.”
We’re proud to announce our newest endorsement from the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 31!
After meeting this morning, they unanimously voted in favor of paid sick days for Tacoma! Firefighters are constantly exposed to chemicals that cause them to get sick, and understanding how important it is to not spread sickness to the public, they agree that everyone should have a day off and not worry about losing pay. We are proud of our local firefighters and are glad to have them on our team. Thank you Local 31 for all you do for us in the 253!
BREAKING NEWS: We welcome Pacific Grill as our latest endorsement in support of Paid Sick Days for the city of Tacoma! Pacific Grill recognizes that having healthy workers makes their business thrive. If you want a delicious meal in downtown Tacoma, check them out, Pacific Grill is located on 1502 Pacific Avenue.
The Healthy Tacoma Coalition extends its gratitude to Chef Gordon Nacarrato, who took the initiative on making this connection possible! Find out more about him and his great accomplishments here: http://www.pacificgrilltacoma.com/bios/
By DIANE INMAN — via the Tacoma News Tribune
Two Tacoma City Council members, Anders Ibsen and Ryan Mello, are proposing a city ordinance to ensure that all people working in Tacoma can earn paid sick time. As co-owner of a local business, with more than 24 years of experience as an independent business owner, I can tell you that paid sick days are a good idea.
My business partner and I began providing paid sick days for our staff because it was the right thing to do. We were surprised and pleased to find our business running better because of this policy.
Our employees don’t use paid sick days very often. Part of the reason is that when employees are ill, they stay home to recover instead of coming to work and spreading their germs to co-workers. We know that healthy employees are more productive, alert and able to give our clients the kind of service they deserve and expect. Our high level of repeat and referral business is a direct result of that consistent, high-quality service.
Having paid sick days available isn’t just a morale boost for our employees, it also helps create an environment of respect and a culture of going the extra mile for each other. The lower turnover that results means our staff builds stronger relationships with customers and with each other. We spend far less money, time and energy hiring and training new employees.
Today, almost 40,000 people are working in Tacoma without any paid sick days. Among them: parents who can’t pick up a sick child from school, grocery workers who can’t use their paid sick days until the third day of their illness; and more than three in four restaurant workers, who have lots of regular public interaction as part of their job.
Ibsen’s and Mello’s proposal addresses this problem while allowing for the obvious differences between smaller businesses like ours, with 20 employees, and large corporations with thousands of employees. Workers would earn one hour of paid sick time per 30 hours worked – up to a limit of five days per year for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. People working for larger businesses could earn up to nine days per year.
The proposed ordinance would allow employees to use paid sick time to deal with their own illness or injury, or for preventative care; to care for an immediate family member’s illness or injury; or as “safe time” in the case of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking.
We are in business because it lets us do what we love. Paid sick days isn’t just smart business policy, it’s smart public policy as well. I hope the City Council will take the responsible step and move a paid sick days ordinance forward here in Tacoma.
Diane Inman is co-owner of Positive Approach Dog Training and a member of the Healthy Tacoma coalition, a group of more than 30 community organizations in support of paid sick days. Community members interested in learning more about the paid sick days ordinance can visit http://www.healthytacoma.net.
- One year after Seattle’s paid sick days law took effect, local businesses owners joined the small business group Main Street Alliance to present a new report on the economic impacts of the law.
Joe Fugere, owner of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria; Makini Howell, owner of Plum Bistro and Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale, each shared how their businesses have continued to grow and prosper – and all while providing paid sick days to their employees.
At Tutta Bella, Fugere decided to use a paid time off system that allows employees to use the time they earn for sick leave, vacation or even to go see their daughter’s violin recital. The cost for such a system? One-half of one percent of revenue. “Message to big business and lobbyist: wringing savings out of your employees is really a false profit,” said Fugere. “My support has only grown stronger because of my experience.”
Howell, who had provided employees with paid sick days even before Seattle’s law passed, noted paid sick leave only costs her about $300-$400 a year for her 35-person business. “You don’t have to bring in a specialist to redo the payroll,” Makini noted. “So no, we’re not raising the costs of cupcakes or pizza or tofu to offset that.”
Hall stated that her business has continued to expand since the paid sick days ordinance went into effect. She’ll soon be opening a new shop in Queen Anne, and plans to hire 20 new employees to keep up with growth.
The report, for which the Economic Opportunity Institute provided technical assistance, notes that Seattle’s economy showed stronger job growth and business formation in the first half of 2013 compared to the same time period in 2012: ”There were 7,200 more retail jobs and 3,200 more jobs in food services and drinking places in King County during the first seven months of 2013 than for the same period of 2012.”
The report also finds that Seattle has maintained its share of King County businesses and revenues, including in the retail and food services sectors. Further, levels of inflation in the Seattle area have fallen since last year, similar to national trends.
It confirms what many HR specialists, economists and advocates have been saying for years: paid sick days are good for workers and good for business. Seattle’s paid sick leave law means workers aren’t going to work sick and handling your food, sick kids aren’t stuck in the nurse’s office because their parent can’t leave work to pick them up and businesses are building stronger workplaces with lower turnover, higher productivity and less absenteeism.
Despite opponents’ predictions of economic doom, the sky did not fall. Seattle is enjoying a prosperous economy, healthier workers and stronger businesses. But workers outside of Seattle still have no access to paid sick days. It’s time to take action at the local and state level to pass paid sick leave laws that support working families and better our businesses.
You can review the complete report from the Main Street Alliance here.