Getting Down to Business Newsletter - April 2013
Apr 02, 2013 | Jodie Levin-Epstein
Getting Down to Business:
News on Employers and Paid Leave
In this Issue
Getting Down to Business is a CLASP monthly update on the latest news about business and paid leave. If you have news you want to share with your colleagues around the country, let us know.
Three local paid sick days’ wins, all in the month of March, were heard around the nation: Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (awaiting the Mayor’s signature), and New York City (a certainty-in-the-making after a deal was negotiated). The moment and the momentum are huge. Businesses played a pivotal role in advocacy in each city. The Everybody Benefits campaign in Portland was spearheaded by Andrea Paluso, executive director of Family Forward Oregon, who observes that “a vital piece of the win in Portland was engagement of businesses in key sectors—from restaurants to retailers to construction.” In Philly, over 30 businesses coalesced in support of the measure that passed the City Council. Marianne Bellesorte, senior director of policy for Pathways PA, explains that “business supporters of sick days are busy keeping their businesses running, so helping leaders stay engaged is hard to accomplish, but worth its weight in gold.”
In New York City, small business support throughout the campaign and at a recent hearing was important in making the case for paid sick days. Sherry Leiwant, co-president of A Better Balance, explains that “the Speaker of our City Council who is running for mayor has consistently said she opposed the bill because it would hurt small business. Many small businesses came forward to say that far from hurting small business, a requirement of paid sick days would level the playing field and ensure that businesses doing the right thing with respect to their workers wouldn't be at a disadvantage. The strong voices of small business were really important in demonstrating that paid sick days is not anti-business, which ultimately helped us succeed." Soon, over a million workers in the Big Apple will have sick days for the first time. These groundbreaking wins around the nation should be a wake-up call to Congress about the need for strong federal legislation. To read more about this, check out our new Huffington Post piece.
When the Healthy Families Act (HFA) was reintroduced in March 2013, it enjoyed support from key voices in the debate: small businesses. The Main Street Alliance, together with the American Sustainable Business Council, used HFA’s introduction to highlight business support for federal action. Through nationwide press outreach, they offered critical insight into how effective local sick day laws have been, as well as the need for a national standard:
James Freeman, co-owner of Blue Bottle Coffee, did not offer paid sick days before the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
Since 2004, HFA has been introduced in each Congress. If we’re going to finally get the job done in 2013, it’s going to take active participation by the business communities. And we’re happy to report that they’re already making their voices heard.
Is your paid leave campaign reaching out to employers of direct care workers? If so, have we got a story for you! The Direct Care Alliance (DCA) has posted a new blog piece: “Why Giving My Direct Care Workers Paid Time Off is a Good Investment.” The Alliance is happy for you to reprint the story or cross-post it on your own site; just make sure they get a credit line.
After a busy March that saw the Healthy Families Act introduced in Congress and breaking developments in Philadelphia, Portland, and New York City, the Associated Press tasked Joyce M. Rosenberg with writing a story on sick days through the lens of business. To read the full piece, “Paid sick time becomes a bigger issue for small businesses as more cities require paid leave,” click here.
At the Retail Action Project in New York, the “JUST HOURS” campaign is focused on Juicy Couture, where there has been “a rash of firings among full-time workers [who are] replaced by part-time workers who also make less per hour. Meanwhile, current part-time workers just got their hours cut and capped so they can no longer receive benefits[…] This means the wide majority of Juicy workers don't qualify for paid sick days[and] vacations and won't get benefits under the Affordable Health Care Act...” To learn more, visit JUST HOURS online.
Have you seen the D.C. earned sick days’ employer video, co-sponsored by CLASP, the American Sustainable Business Council, ROC-DC, Social Venture Network, and the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce? Take a look—and take it along to a meeting with your local businesses!!!
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