In Focus: Business Leadership and Job Quality
Sep 19, 2013 | Permalink »
D.C. Council Considers Expanded Paid Sick Leave Law
By Lauren French
On Tuesday, the D.C. Council introduced legislation that would finally give restaurant workers and new employees access to earned sick days. The new law, proposed by Marion Barry with the support of nine other councilmembers, would expand on the 2008 Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act (ASSLA). Although the ASSLA, the second earned sick days law to be passed in America, was an important milestone for workers and advocates it includes numerous exemptions that leave many workers in the District unprotected and struggling to care for their health and the health of their families.
Under the ASSLA, workers can earn three to seven paid sick days per year, depending on the number of employees at the business. Importantly, the law exempts “restaurant wait staff and bartenders who work for a combination of wages and tips.” One study found that almost 80 percent of restaurant workers in D.C. do not currently have access to paid sick leave. That has major consequences for both employees’ wellbeing and public health and safety. In fact, 59 percent of D.C. restaurant workers reported having prepared, cooked, or served food while sick, a practice that frequently spreads contagious disease and food-borne illness.
Jul 19, 2013 | Permalink »
When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: Linking Women’s Economic Security and Small Business Success
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s press conference yesterday announcing the House Democrats' Economic Agenda for Women and Families, “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds,” ended with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s speech highlighting the importance of the Agenda to small businesses. Congresswoman Velazquez is certainly an example of women succeeding; she is one of the few women (and the first Latina) to chair a full committee in the House. Velasquez is the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, which represents a community not always associated with support for policies like those in the newly announced agenda. Yet, as Velasquez showed, small business men and women have many reasons to support these policies.
Policies that improve access to childcare, enable workers to care for themselves and their families without risking job or wage loss, and ensure that women are paid fairly are crucial for small business success, said Velasquez, particularly for woman-owned businesses. Amidst critiques of such policies from some large corporations, Velasquez’s speech shed light on the truth: women, small businesses, and the economy in general all benefit from family and woman-friendly economic and social policies.
Jun 25, 2013 | Permalink »
State, Local Policies Make Important Steps Forward for Workplace Flexibility
As working caregivers across the country increasingly find themselves at wits end trying to meet work deadlines, arrange childcare, get dinner on the table, and take elderly relatives to medical appointments, important developments in the movement to make workplaces more family-friendly are finally gaining political traction.
Last month, the state of Vermont passed the country’s first law that includes a provision giving workers the “right to request” a flexible work schedule. And on the heels of Vermont’s exciting victory, earlier this month, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu introduced a proposed ballot measure for rules that would give workers who are caregivers a “right to request” flex work. Such laws allow employees to file requests with their employers to telecommute, job share, work part time, or adjust their schedules – all options that can greatly reduce the burden parents and other caregivers face when trying to meet the demands of their jobs and care for their families.
The Vermont law – and San Francisco’s, if it makes it on the ballot and voters embrace it – follows in the footsteps of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia, which have already instituted right to request policies. (Other developed nations have more expansive provisions that give workers the right to schedule changes not just the right to ask for them.) Under the U.K. and New Zealand laws, employers can refuse the request if approving it would lead to undue hardship for the business. Vermont’s law enables workers to make the request and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees that make the request; San Francisco’s motion for a ballot measure uses similar language.