Resolution on Paid Sick Leave

The New York Society for Ethical Culture endorses Paid Sick Leave for employees under the following provisions:

  • Employees earn 1 hour paid sick leave for every 20 hours worked;
  • Employees can earn a maximum of 7 days; and 5 days for firms with less than 10 employees.

As a member of the NY Paid Family Leave Coalition, NYSEC will join the NYPFLC’s new campaign to urge the New York City Council to adopt a paid sick leave policy.

Discussion: The Paid Family Leave Coalition has presented polling results that indicate over-whelming support for paid sick leave in New York State with the most intensive support among city residents.

According to the Center for Policy Alternatives, more than 59 million Americans (mostly in the private sector) have no paid sick leave. As a result, millions of Americans go to work sick because they cannot afford to take unpaid leave. They often delay treatments for their children.

The National Partnership for Women & Families and the Multi-State Working Families Consortium (in collaboration with 10 organizations, including ACORN, AFL-CIO, Moms Rising, 9to5, National Association of Working Women, and Service Employees International Union), has some remarkable findings:

  • Eighty-nine percent of poll respondents favor a basic labor standard that would guarantee all workers a minimum number of paid sick days, including 83% of Republicans who agree that such a standard is needed.
  • Nearly one in eight voters (12%) surveyed reported that they or another adult worker in their family had been fired or penalized by their employer for taking time off from work to care for a sick family member or recover from their own illness. Among Latino and African American voters polled, nearly one in six (16%) reported that they or a family member had been fired or penalized for taking sick time off.
  • 87% of those polled support giving all full-time workers seven paid sick days per year at companies with more than 15 employees.
  • 71% of those polled supported extending sick days to part-time employees on a pro-rated basis.

Campaigns for Paid Sick Days: After the city of San Francisco enacted paid sick days legislation for employers in that city in fall 2006, paid sick days legislation was introduced in a number of states around the country. Currently, state and locally based coalitions in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Washington DC, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virgimia, and Wisconsin are actively campaigning for paid sick days and other states are expected to join them before the 2008 session.

Paid Family Leave: With California and Washington States passing paid leave policies, one of the most generous models for paid family leave is New Jersey's proposed S2249 which would provide up to 12 weeks of family leave at up to $502 per week to care for sick family members or to care for a newborn or newly adopted child.

Paid Sick Days: Last year, Connecticut's State Senate became the first chamber to approve guaranteed sick days for workers (SB 601) to care for themselves and immediate family members.

The biggest obstacle to enacting family friendly is the economic concerns of employers. However, as many business owners have found, paid leave policies bring particular benefits to their bottom line. They promote retention of trained workers and lessen the time and cost of finding and training new workers. They allow workers to stay home when sick thus reducing the chances of infecting their co-workers, hence increasing absenteeism and raising the costs of medical insurance. Pro-family policies promote work place morale and productivity. A study has shown that workers with 7 paid sick days miss an average of 1.8 days annually (excl. maternity). With dynamic grass roots organizations like MomsRising, as well as many of the unions, the eight state Paid Family Leave Coalition, think tanks like the Drum Major Institute, and the Progressive States Network, we want to raise family friendly issues so that they become part of the dialogue of the 2008 congressional and presidential elections.

We are speaking out for those doing some of humanity’s most essential work but who are too busy to speak out for themselves.