Milwaukee's Workers, Paid Sick Days Law in Limbo
Apr 06, 2011
Some worrisome news came out of Wisconsin April 5. The Wisconsin Assembly Labor Committee voted a bill out of committee that would lead to overturning Milwaukee's paid sick days ordinance, which was passed with 69 percent voter support in 2008. The bill, AB 41, would allow the state to overturn legislation passed at the town or city level. The Assembly committee's actions come just a few weeks after the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a huge victory for Wisconsin workers by upholding the Milwaukee paid sick days ordinance in a suit brought by the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce.
It's unfortunate that low-wage workers in Milwaukee are now in limbo on this important policy. If implemented, the city's paid sick days law would provide 120,000 families the ability to take time off of work to care for their own illness or that of a family member without fear of losing their jobs or needed income. Paid sick days policies are important for maintaining the health of workers and their communities. They allow workers to meet their professional and personal responsibilities. And they encourage employee loyalty and productivity.
CLASP is focused on raising important support in the business community for policies that protect workers. We've recently released a toolkit for business owners and advocates advising business owners on how to implement a paid sick days policy. The toolkit includes sample policies, implementation guidance, and additional information such as tax credits available for small businesses under the Affordable Care Act.
The will of voters is behind paid sick days in Wisconsin. Across the nation, there are many great business owners speaking out about the benefits of paid leave for their workers and their bottom line. It's time that Wisconsin's lawmakers recognize the tremendous value of paid sick days too