Seattle Mayor Signs Third Paid Sick Days Law in the Country

Sep 23, 2011

By Andrea Lindemann

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn signed the third paid sick days law in the country on Sept. 23, 2011.  The Mayor has been a strong supporter of the law, stating that "Seattle residents shouldn't have to choose between staying home sick and keeping their job."  Now over 100,000 workers in Seattle who lacked paid sick days will not have to make this unconscionable choice.  McGinn chose to sign the bill in a local restaurant, Plum Bistro, which is owned by Makini Howell, a strong supporter of the paid sick days bill.

The Seattle City Council passed the law by an 8-1 vote.  Supporters packed the hearing room, carrying and waving paper-plate signs that read "I'm a fan of paid sick days."  The vote received a standing ovation. 

The law requires businesses in Seattle (except those with fewer than five workers) to provide at least five paid days off a year to employees who are sick, need to care for a sick family member, or who are victims of domestic abuse and need to take time off to assist law enforcement or attend court hearings.  Businesses with more than 250 workers will be required to provide nine days.

The Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce, comprised of over 100 local organizations and small businesses that pushed for the measure, applauded the City Council, and members Nick Licata and Tim Burgess in particular, for their leadership on the bill.

Small business owners are a growing partner in the campaign for paid sick days and were key to helping craft the ordinance, including Makini Howell (Plum Bistro), Jody Hall (Cupcake Royale), Joe Fugere (Tutta Bella), and Dave Meinert (5 Point Cafe), Tim Baker (Linda's, Oddfellows, King's Hardware), and Molly Moon Neitzel (Molly Moon's). Paid sick days make sense. It's a policy that helps workers maintain their health, employers reduce turnover, and communities stay healthy. To engage more business support, CLASP hosts a Businesses & Paid Sick Days resource site with a toolkit for business owners, video and testimony from employers, reports, surveys and other useful tools.

Residents of Denver will vote on a similar measure this November. We will continue to highlight the importance of paid sick days as a critical protection for workers and their families. Learn more about how to engage businesses in your community to support paid sick days.

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