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It’s Time for Paid Sick Days in Tacoma – Demand Action Today

August 6, 2013

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – the first federal law giving workers the right to unpaid time off for a new baby or serious health concern. But two decades later, FMLA falls short for today’s working families – it doesn’t even cover 40 percent of workers and few people can afford time off without pay. It also doesn’t cover preventive health care or common illnesses like the flu or a child’s ear infection.

Paid Sick Days would help close key gaps in FMLA. As of June 2013, five U.S. cities – including Seattle and Portland – and one state have guaranteed the right for workers to earn paid sick days.

Now, the Tacoma City Council is poised to consider similar legislation, but the same corporate interests that blocked paid sick days in Milwaukee and Denver  – and two decades ago tried to stop the FMLA – are organizing here.

City Council members need to hear loud and clear from Tacoma voters and community members that the health of our children and economic security of our families has to come first.

In Tacoma, 40,000 workers – or 2 in 5 employees – have no paid sick leave including almost 5,000 in restaurants and hotels. Lower income workers, women, and people of color are disproportionately less likely to receive paid sick leave than highly paid professionals. Workers without paid sick days can’t afford to buy groceries or cover their bills if they take time off. With no other option, they are more likely to go to work sick or send their sick children to school.

Healthy Tacoma, a coalition of community organizations, workers, and small business owners, is working to encourage Tacoma’s elected officials to protect the city’s workforce – and all its residents – by passing the Paid Sick Days ordinance. Paid sick days improve public health, reduce emergency room visits, boost children’s school performance, and improve employee productivity.

It is time to demand action from Tacoma’s lawmakers.

Take Action Today:

If you are a Tacoma resident, please take a few moments now to support paid sick days for Tacoma’s workers by doing the following:

  1. Submit a letter to the Tacoma City Council expressing your support of paid sick days.
  2. Tell Healthy Tacoma about a time when having paid sick days would have helped you.
  3. Send a letter to the editor to the Tacoma News Tribune

Here’s what to say:

  • Share your story – How has access or lack of access to paid sick days impacted you and your family?
  • Share the facts – Paid Sick Days are smart investments in public health, worker productivity and working families and nearly two-thirds of Tacoma’s likely voters support a proposed paid sick leave law.
  • Demand action from your legislators, community leaders and neighbors: New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, Portland and the state of Connecticut have successfully passed and implemented Paid Sick Days. Tacoma can too.

Now is the time for paid sick days in Tacoma! Talk to your lawmakers today!

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