In Focus: Business Leadership and Job Quality
Mar 01, 2013 | Permalink »
New Tool for Job Quality Advocates: A Primer on Business Certifications
Today, CLASP and its partner, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), released a new tool for job quality advocates, including advocates for earned sick days and paid family leave. The jointly produced brief provides advocates with a primer on the nuts and bolts of the business certification movement and suggests ways to foster fruitful relationships between the movement and campaigns for improved job quality, such as earned sick days campaigns.
Increasingly, businesses are seeking out certifications as means to assess their impact and verify that their practices are consistent with their values. Such certifications — which assess practices regarding environmental sustainability, living wages, paid sick days, flexible schedules, etc. — help businesses to maintain a high level of commitment to ethical practices and allow them to showcase this commitment to consumers and the public. In addition, a growing number of states have adopted “benefit corporation” legislation, which promotes and legally protects socially responsible businesses, many of which have attained certifications.
For job quality advocates, who are increasingly recognizing the crucial role of business support in successful campaigns, both certifying organizations and certified businesses can be valuable partners. Be sure to read the brief and follow up with ASBC in order to learn more.
Feb 27, 2013 | Permalink »
Implementing Earned Sick Days Laws: Learning from Seattle's Experience
Advocates in Seattle fought hard to build the support necessary to pass the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance. But the hard work did not end when the law passed in September 2011. Once the ink on Seattle’s ordinance had dried, the process of implementing the law began.
The task of implementation in Seattle fell to the city’s Office for Civil Rights (SOCR). SOCR’s small but energetic staff has approached the complex job with a drive that not only reflects a commitment to ensuring that the law protects the rights of Seattle’s workers, but also a desire to listen carefully to business concerns about the law. The city has launched a thoughtful and creative implementation and outreach strategy that has been attentive to business needs, spread the word about the law to diverse groups of Seattle workers and employers, and provided an unparalleled level of technical assistance to employers seeking to comply with the law.
Elliott Bronstein, SOCR’s Public Information Coordinator, explains, “The thing that I’m proudest of is our work with employers to answer their questions, to make this as intelligible to them as possible, and to listen closely to their concerns during the rule drafting process.” By taking a constructive approach, Seattle has brought employers on board, helping to ensure that employees are receiving the paid sick and safe time they have earned.
CLASP spoke with SOCR staff to better understand the implementation process. Today, CLASP is releasing an issue brief that draws upon Seattle’s experience to delineate best practices for implementing such laws. It is the first in a series of implementation briefs that draw on the experiences of jurisdictions that have passed earned sick days laws. Watch for additional briefs in the coming weeks, as well as a summary of best practices from all jurisdictions.
Momentum for earned sick days laws is building around the country, with active campaigns in several cities and states. As more sick days laws pass, more governments will face the challenging task of implementing these laws. Those facing this task have much to learn from Seattle’s implementation work.
Read the brief >>
Jan 18, 2013 | Permalink »
Earned Sick Days: What Consumers Want
While many people assume that paid sick days are widely available to all, that is far from the truth for too many workers. This critical workplace protection is important both to workers and consumers. A new poll demonstrates that restaurants that do not offer their employees the opportunity to earn paid sick days do so at their own peril. The survey, put out by the National Consumers League (NCL), found that 92 percent of consumers believe that it is very important or important that the servers and cooks in the restaurants they patronize do not cook or serve while sick. Well over half of respondents agreed on the importance of allowing these workers to earn paid sick days. With consumers expressing a clear preference for fair sick leave policies, the message to business owners is also clear: to satisfy customers, employers must provide restaurant workers with just working conditions, including earned sick days. Policymakers should take note as well.
Despite what this poll tells us about consumer preferences, a 2011 study from the Restaurant Opportunity Center United (ROC-United) found that 87.7 percent of workers nationwide do not have paid sick days. But restaurants that hope to thrive in this economy should take note of NCL’s poll: their customers care about the health of their servers and the policies restaurants have in place to protect both workers and consumers. NCL’s convincing polling numbers should be a wake-up call to the many restaurants that don’t yet offer their employees this crucial labor protection.
Fortunately, some restaurants have received this message and are doing the right thing. “Kitchen Ethical,” an event convened this week by NCL and ROC-United, featured two Washington, D.C.-area ethical restaurant owners. Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets and Eatonville Restaurants, and Chef Tate, owner of Inspire Barbeque, spoke about their commitment to workers’ rights and the impact their policies (including paid sick leave and health insurance coverage) have on the profitability of their restaurants.