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Healthy Tacoma statement on passage of Tacoma paid sick leave ordinance

January 27, 2015

People should not have to decide between staying home to get well and putting food on the table. It is common sense to make sure we all have the right to access paid sick days.

Tonight the Tacoma City Council passed a paid sick leave ordinance by a vote of 8-1. The ordinance improves on Mayor Strickland’s original proposal by covering all workers, including those in labor unions. “Removing the discriminatory language against workers who have a Collective Bargaining Agreement was a positive step to protect public health and families,” said Patty Rose of the Pierce County Labor Council.

However, it falls short by limiting workers to earning only 3 days of sick leave per year. That’s not enough to protect public health; many workers, and especially parents, will still be forced to choose between a paycheck and getting healthy. Council members had the opportunity to amend the proposed ordinance to allow workers to earn up to 5 paid sick days per year, but voted 6-3 to leave that portion of the ordinance unchanged.

Tacoma’s workers, business owners, faith leaders and others deserve credit for pushing the Council to consider this issue. We commend the leadership of Council members Ryan Mello, Anders Ibsen, and Victoria Woodards, who supported amendments to ensure every worker could earn up to 5 days of leave per year.

“Whether you’re caring for yourself, a child, or an aging parent, everyone gets sick, and everyone needs time to get better,” said Rose. “We look forward to working with both current and future city council members to shore up this policy.”

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