Getting Down to Business (August 2013)

August 06, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai

Getting Down to Business: News on Employers and Paid Leave
August 2013
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.

When Women Succeed, Small Business Succeeds

Paid leave policies and small business success dovetailed at Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s press conference last month, announcing the House Democrats Economic Agenda for Women and Families. At the event, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s speech highlighted the importance of the Agenda to small businesses. The Congresswoman emphasized that small business men and women have many reasons to support the newly announced agenda, which include paid family leave, earned sick days, and affordable childcare policies, among others. Read more>>

Business Surveys: Useful Tools for Campaigns

Does your campaign want to get a better sense of paid leave and other workplace policies of businesses within your jurisdiction? One approach that some campaigns are taking is to survey businesses. Consider the surveys used in Massachusetts and Colorado as you decide what approach will work best for your campaign. Need help with your survey? Contact us. Want to share your campaign’s survey? Send it our way.

Rhode Island Paid Leave Bill Signed Into Law

Signed, sealed, and delivered! Last month, we reported that Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) bill was about to pass. Now, the Governor has signed the bill, which makes the state the third in the country to enact a family leave insurance bill. (Washington’s bill has not been funded.) The bill passed in part as a result of strong business support from local businesses and national business representatives. Way to go, Rhode Island! Read more >>

Advocates Participate in Webinar on Business Certifications and Paid Leave

What are business certifications and why should they matter to paid leave advocates? To address this question, CLASP, the National Partnership for Women & Families, Family Values @ Work, and the American Sustainable Business Council co-hosted a webinar last month. “Business Criteria for Good Workplaces and the Paid Leave Movement” introduced advocates to organizations that work with the business community to define criteria for good workplaces. Two such organizations participated in the call: B Lab, a member organization of ASBC, and Square Plate. Advocates learned about the work that these organizations do to certify businesses that are committed to more than just profits. Both organizations’ certifications include questions about paid leave. The webinar was informative and opened the door for paid leave advocates to connect with businesses that may be supportive of their campaigns. Read about the webinar on Think Progress >>

Massachusetts Sick Days Campaign Heats Up – with Business Support

A powerful collaboration between the movement for earned sick days and the fight to raise the minimum wage gained momentum in Massachusetts last month. Members of Raise Up Massachusetts kicked off their campaign to put both of these pressing job quality issues on the state’s 2014 ballot. State Treasurer Steve Grossman, a supporter of earned sick days and raising the minimum wage, said that earned sick time is “a moral imperative [and…] an economic imperative.” A former business owner and now a gubernatorial candidate, Grossman said he gave earned sick time to his employees many years ago. He noted, “We built a great company because of the quality of people who work for us and because we treat them with dignity.” Treating employees well, the treasurer added, will “increase productivity, loyalty, and craftsmanship.” State Senator Dan Wolf, who is CEO and Founder of Cape Air, a successful regional airline, argues that earned sick days are good for business and rarely abused. Wolf, also a gubernatorial candidate, introduced an earned sick time bill which has since stalled in committee. Read about the campaign launch >>

New York Times: Sick Days Fears Go Unrealized

Are business fears about earned sick days laws all bark, but no bite? An article in the New York Times last month noted that although many businesses have expressed trepidation about earned sick days laws, the expected “pain” from these bills does not materialize when they are implemented. Bill Stone, owner of Atlas Café in San Francisco, may have been a bit “alarmist” in his response to the city’s law, which took effect in 2007, the article said. Now, Stone says, “[A]ll in all, I actually think it’s a good thing.” The Times asked readers – particularly business owners – to weigh in. The majority of commenters spoke positively about the law. For example, Portland business owner Jim Houser wrote in the comments section: “My small company (13 employees) has provided 5 days of paid sick time annually for all of our 30 years in business. Last year, our staff averaged 2.6 sick days off. The plus side for companies with good employment standards like ours is that the average tenure of my full-time staff is nearly 20 years.” Houser was a supporter of Portland’s recently passed sick days law. Read more >>

Local Progress Webinar Highlights Business Organizing Strategies

Progress on earned sick days at the local level is heating up. With newly passed sick days laws in New York City and Portland, municipal politics is proving to be fertile ground for the earned sick days movement. Local Progress, a national municipal policy network made up of local elected officials and partners who want to create more just and equitable cities, hosted a webinar on earned sick days. During the webinar, city councilmembers Nick Licata (Seattle) and Gail Brewer (New York City) spoke about their cities’ paths to passing earned sick days and local and national advocates weighed in, sharing their insights. A focal point of the conversation was the importance of business supporters for successful passage of these laws. A recording of the webinar will soon be posted on Local Progress’s website. Read more >>

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