Getting Down to Business (February 2014)

February 11, 2014

Getting Down to Business: News on Employers and Paid Leave
February 2014
In this Issue


Getting Down to Business is CLASP's monthly update on business and paid leave news. If you have news you want to share with your colleagues around the country, let us know.  And be sure to let your area businesses know about Better Workplaces, Better Businesses, a website that aggregates news and research related to business and paid leave and highlights business supporters of paid leave from around the country.




ASBC Businesses Meet with Sec. Perez on Paid Leave

American Sustainable Business Council and its business leaders delivered a clear message to Labor Secretary Tom Perez last month: good businesses offer paid leave, and paid leave is good for business.Members of the American Sustainable Business Council gathered in Washington, D.C. on a cold January day to make the strong business case with Perez, who listened sympathetically. Participants in the meeting included New Belgium Brewing, Warby Parker, Eileen Fisher, Uncommon Goods, and American Income Life. This great group of business leaders referenced low turnover rates, strong recruitment, and motivated employees as some of the positive outcomes of good workplace policies, and how they have benefited their businesses. ASBC will be releasing a full report of the meetings, including one on minimum wage, soon. See DOL’s slideshow of the event >>

Aspen Institute Event: Feehery Says Paid Family Leave Good for Business

Who says conservatives and business owners don’t support paid leave policies? At an event focused on paid leave policies held at the Aspen Institute last month, speakers showed that paid leave can be a bipartisan issue that garners support from employers and employees alike. Panelist John Feehery, who is currently President of Quinn Gillespie Communications, was a long-time spokesperson for former Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R).  Feehery said that families in our society are under far too much stress – which affects everyone, including businesses. He rejected “the idea that businesses are against finding some kind of cooperative relationship [to address paid leave issues].” In fact, said Feehery, “They want healthy workers. They want healthy families. They don’t want parents worried so much about their kids that they aren’t productive. They don’t want to have to train new employees all the time.” 

Also on the panel, Seattle restaurateur Makini Howell described her experience with the sick days campaign in her city: “Once a lot of the business owners who would be implementing this law actually came to the table and sat down and talked about it, everyone understood that it was something that had to happen…when the worker and the small business owner actually come together to talk, you realize there is a lot of common ground.” See the video>>

NYT: Sick Days Laws Work, Don’t Hurt Businesses

Earned sick days law are being successfully implemented in several cities, a New York Times article emphasized, and businesses are no worse for the wear. The piece highlighted collaboration between officials in New York City, where a sick days law recently passed and will likely soon be expanded, and those in Seattle and San Francisco, where such laws have been in effect for several years. Donna Levitt, who leads San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, sends the following message to New York Mayor de Blasio’s administration “We know that this can work.” The article also quotes Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, who said the sick days law had minimal impact on the city’s employers. “By and large, this has not been an employer issue,” Mr. Lazarus said. “San Francisco’s economy is booming.” Read more >>

Banking Exec: FAMILY Act is Good for Business and the Economy

A prominent business leader expressed his support for the FAMILY Act in a recent Huffington Post commentary. Tom Nides, Vice Chair of Morgan Stanley, writes that the bill “is not just good for families and businesses -- it also makes economic sense.” Nides, who was previously deputy secretary of state, draws on his experience in both the private sector and foreign affairs. He explains, “In order for U.S. companies to remain competitive, we must embrace smart policies like this one, which is a winner for the economy, business, and workers.” Read more >>

Business and Paid Leave Media Coverage Round-Up

The media have been all over the topic of business and paid leave over the past month. In addition to the New York Times article mentioned above, the paper also ran a piece on the business case for paid family leave. The Wall Street Journal cited business support for earned sick days, quoting the president of NSI Inc., an information-technology services firm in Naugatuck, Conn., who said, "It's just good business […] Why wouldn't you want to do what's right for your employees?" A post on the CNN blog referenced a Seattle business owner who supports the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, also citing Main Street Alliance’s positive findings on the economic effects of the law. In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, small business owner Heather Kneiss spoke out against Pennsylvania’s proposed pre-emption legislation, stating, “Paid sick days are good for business, good for public health, good for families and good for workers.” And an NPR piece noted that most businesses experience little impact when they implement sick days laws. For more business and paid leave news, visit the Better Workplaces, Better Businesses website>>

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