Employer Voices

October 28, 2010

Employers supporting paid sick days range far and wide. Some of their stories are shared here.

November 14, 2012
Provoc, a Communications Firm, is "Walking the Talk"

When you walk into the light, airy room, in a residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., you don’t imagine it would be an office full of people working. It feels like a friend’s home. This is the creation of Raj Aggarwal, President of Provoc, a full service communications firm. Raj founded the company 13 years ago in Maryland and reincorporated in D.C. in 2004. They are now a globally distributed company with employees located in D.C., Amsterdam and Tanzania. They provide graphic design, branding, print media, state-of-the-art web technologies, illustration, and more.


October 4, 2012
Exporting More Than Coffee

James Freeman opened The Blue Bottle Coffee Company in Oakland, CA as a place for people who want to enjoy the taste of freshly roasted coffee. James and his team have taken their passion for great coffee and built it into a small network of cafes, wholesale partners, an espresso cart, a coffee kiosk, and some vintage German coffee roasters. Because they recognized that the good people of Oakland weren’t the only ones who should savor their offerings, they have exported their concept across the bay to San Francisco, and across the country to Brooklyn.

But coffee isn’t all they have exported. Blue Bottle Coffee did not offer paid sick days before the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance went into effect in 2007. According to James, the Ordinance “gave us the gentle nudge to do the right thing. While we have always believed in sick days in principle, the law was the impetus to put this policy into effect in our business.”


May 15, 2012
Paid Sick Days in Washington, DC

In this Spotlight and Poverty, a CLASP-managed initiative, video, Jodie Levin-Epstein talked with Politics And Prose owner Bradley Graham on how his business operates within the framework of the law. Graham's views about implementation should inform researchers, advocates, and businesses around the nation interested in learning how the policy translates on the ground.


April 27, 2012
Letter of Support for Illinois Paid Sick Days Law SB128

Trilogy Interactive LLC is a web design and development company located in the Chicago, Ill. Through working with Trilogy on our own website, CLASP learned of Trilogy’s great paid time off policies for its workers and connected the firm with Women Employed and the Illinois Paid Leave Coalition. Trilogy wrote this letter in support of SB 128, Illinois’ paid sick days bill. As Stacey Bashara-Stern, a Partner at Trilogy, states in the letter, “We are a firm of only 25 employees, and yes, it can be somewhat challenging when an employee takes a few days off to recuperate from illness or to take care of a sick family member. But we would much rather the employee stay home and recover (or help their family member) than have them report to work ill, or with their family issues weighing heavily on their minds.”


March 8, 2012
How I Became An Employer That Prevents the Workplace Discrimination I Faced

Angela Sasseville, an employer, implements new policies that she herself did not experience as an employee.


mar 24, 2011
This Boss Doesn't Mind Sick Days

Dewetta Logan, a Philadephia small business owner wrote in an op-ed to the Philadelphia Inquirer that while it can be difficult to manage when employees are out sick, but "in the long run, though, providing benefits such as paid sick days is about respecting my employees, and I am proud to say that I have a committed staff with little turnover."


mar 1, 2011
Employers Testify in Support of Paid Sick Leave in CT and Philadelphia

As lawmakers in both Connecticut and Philadelphia consider bills requiring paid sick leave, employers and advocates submitted testimony in support of the bills. The employers emphasized how a healthy workforce is better for their business' bottom line.

Ryan Ozimek, small business owner of PICnet, noted that paid sick days make 'good business sense' in his testimony in Connecticut. Read Ryan Ozimek's testimony >>

Jennifer Piallat, owner of Zazie restaurant in San Francisco, submitted testimony in both Connecticut and Philadelphia on how her business is actually more profitable by investing in the health of their employees. Read Jennifer Piallat's Connecticut testimony and in her testimony in Philadelphia >>

Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, submitted testimony in Connecticut emphasizing how paid sick leave is critical for women to maintain a healthy work and home life balance. Read Margot Dorfman's testimony >>


Oct 05, 2010 |  PERMALINK
Paid Family Leave "Levels the Playing Field" for Businesses

In a 12,000 square-foot loft in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Kelly Conklin and his ten full-time employees produce high-end furniture for a largely well-to-do customer base.

Kelly has operated his small business, Foley-Waite Associates, since 1978. Producing custom cabinets, furniture and other woodwork for his customers in a consistent and timely manner requires skilled, loyal employees. One of the ways Kelly ensures he provides a work environment that fosters loyalty is providing benefits such as paid leave to his employees.


Jul 26, 2010 |  PERMALINK
Providing Paid Sick Days is "the Right Thing to Do"

Seventeen years ago, Rosanne Martino began managing One if By Land, Two if by Sea, an upscale restaurant in New York City's Greenwich Village. As a manager, she wanted to make sure the small business continued to grow and attract customers and also maintain high quality service. One of the surest ways to do so, she decided, was to maintain morale among the restaurant's employees.

"The heart of the restaurant is the dishwasher," she said.


Employers Speak Out

Linda Orr, Co-Owner of Teasim in Washington, DC

"We are very lucky to have a very loyal, dependable and hard-working group of employees. Having paid sick days is
just one of the many ways I try to take care of them and enrich their lives."


Krystin Rubin, co-owner
of Mission Pie in
San Francisco, CA

 "Healthy food begins with healthy people making it... Paid sick days is very simple. It's no more or less complicated than any other benefit."


Zazie Restaurant in
San Francisco, CA 

"I was relatively sure they [paid sick days] would become 'paid hung-over days'.They did not...People have not taken advantage of it."



Jennifer Owens,
Working Mother Media

"We like the idea that the workers earn their time...we are sure that the ability to dip into the different buckets will give you the flexibility to take care of your family needs." 

Employer Spotlights 

When business owners hear about paid sick days ordinances, many express fears that the law might hurt more than it would help. However, once businesses learn the law, what it requires of them and how to manage and implement it, many businesses embrace it. The employers highlighted below share their thoughts on what providing paid sick days means for them.

  • Menlo Innovations is a 50 person software development and design company based in Michigan. Prior to starting Menlo Innovations, CEO Rich Sheridan wasn't satisfied with workplace cultures he often found. Like many small business owners, Rich decided to do it differently by starting his own business. Menlo offers great employee benefits, including 20 days of paid time off a year, flex time, paid community time, 10 paid holidays, and emergency paid time off. Workers can use emergency paid time off when they or a family member is ill. "Menlo understands the benefits of making paid time off available to our workers for a wide variety of important life situations, including basic things like being sick," he says. "At Menlo, everyone works in close proximity to one another, so a healthy team is valuable on many levels!"  

  • Sam Mogannam, Bi-Rite Sam Mogannam owns Bi-Rite, a local community market and creamery in the Mission District of San Francisco. He employs close to one hundred workers. Before the San Francisco Paid Sick Days Ordinance passed, Sam, like many business owners, was apprehensive about the way the legislation would work.  "When we first heard about it, there was a lot of fear being voiced by many businesses. Once the confusion cleared and we understood the law, what was required of us, how to manage and implement it, we embraced it. The law makes sense and creates a better, less stressful work environment."   Sam has seen "next to no" abuse of the policy; instead, it has increased the morale of his employees and been a benefit to his business.

  • Guerra DeBerry Coody (GDC) is a small marketing firm with less than 50 employees located in San Antonio, Texas.  GDC values workplace flexibility and has a history of providing a business voice for legislation to help employees balance work and family. GDC helped pass a law allowing small businesses to operate on-site day cares and opened its own day-care for employees' children. By offering onsite daycare, GDC also committed to allowing parents to take their children home when sick without penalty. Even though the firm is small enough that it is not required to offer unpaid leave under the FMLA, GDC provides generous paid personal, sick and vacation time - including maternity and paternity leave. Work/Life Director Shauna Goodman says that, "by incorporating our policies into the culture of the firm, GDC ensures that all of our workers know GDC values their health, well-being, and their families."

  • Ryan Ozimek, PICnet PICnet is a web development firm servicing the nonprofit and public sector. PICnet has offered six paid sick days a year to its employees since 2001. It has ten employees, one of whom works in San Francisco. The paid sick days law in San Francisco has not had a negative impact nor has it increased costs for PICnet.  Founder Ryan Ozimek recognizes that paid sick days make sense both from a business perspective and a moral one.  "Competitiveness for labor in the technology market is high and pushes companies to provide benefits like paid sick leave. As a socially responsible business with a B Corporation status, we support providing sick days for employees from simply a social welfare point of view as well.  From our perspective, it's simply the right thing to do for our employees."

  • Ben Tulchin, Tulchin Research Last year, Ben Tulchin opened Tulchin Research, which does polling and strategic consulting for political campaigns, ballot initiatives, corporate clients, and non-profit organizations. Ben has three employees, who he has always provided paid vacation time, personal days and paid sick time. His employees have one week of paid sick time a year. Ben said, "I recognize that things come up in life.  I believe my employees should be able to deal with these issues without losing pay."

King Arthur Flour, Hypertherm, and WS Badger Co. participated in an employer panel at the New England Work-Family Regional Policy Summit in November 2010.  Annie Farnsworth, Ph.D. (formerly of the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women) and Nikki Murphy, LICSW (formerly of the New Hampshire Women's Lobby and Alliance) were key in arranging for the business voices at this meeting.  Their organizations have since merged together, along with the NH Women's Policy Institute, into the New Hampshire Women's Initiative, a new non-profit organization aimed at working toward  social, economic and political opportunity and equality for women in New Hampshire.

  • WS Badger Company is a family-owned body care company in Gilsum, New Hampshire, where family comes first.  In order to maintain a family-friendly environment, Badger has instituted an overwhelmingly popular babies-at-work opportunity for some employees.  In addition, each employee has 40 "health" hours that can be used when they are ill or need to care for an ill family member.  Betsi McGuigan, the charitable giving coordinator, says Badger allows employees paid time off when they are sick because "Badger wants to treat others like they would want to be treated.  It is the right thing to do."
  • Hypertherm designs and manufactures the world's most advanced plasma cutting systems for use in a variety of industries such as shipbuilding, manufacturing, and automotive repair. Its product line includes handheld and mechanized plasma systems and consumables, as well as CNC motion and height controls. Hypertherm is a global company based in Hanover, New Hampshire.  The company recognizes the value of its Associates and is prepared to invest in them for the long haul, which it demonstrates with a no-layoff policy and generous benefits.  All associates at Hypertherm receive earned time off. The company also offers paid maternity and paternity leave.  It pre-plans for any necessary absences by cross training Associates, adding to both the skills of the company and the success of the workers.  Hypertherm has a low injury rate for its industry due to their high level of focus on safety. It is important to Hypertherm that Associates be allowed to have paid time off when an Associate or their family has a need to be away from work.  Vice President of Human Resources Deane Ilukowicz said, "families suffer when Associates do not have paid time off.  Our company cares about both the well-being of our workforce and profitability, and offering paid time off allows us to achieve both."
  • King Arthur Flour is a baking company in Norwich, Vermont with approximately 200 employees. The company places a premium on the health of its employees and recognizes that giving paid time off is the right thing to do. In addition to paid time off, it also has company wellness initiatives such as company subsidized CSA shares at a local farm stand, offered first to lower-waged workers. To employers who are concerned that paid sick days are cost-prohibitive, Suzanne McDowell, VP of Human Resources, says "sick days do not happen enough to change the way we do business. Seven days out of 52 weeks is fair; it is not that much time overall."
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