Today in Massachusetts, nearly one million workers can’t take a single day of paid sick time to visit the doctor, take care of a sick child, or help an elderly parent. In November, we can guarantee access to earned sick time for all workers in Massachusetts by voting Yes on Question 4.
Some 37 percent of workers in Boston lack access to paid sick days, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.
Employees without access to sick time are often left having to choose between taking care of the child they love or the job that puts food on the table. Question 4 would allow them to take time to take care of their health or the health of a family member without fear of losing their job or a day’s pay.
Many successful employers already provide earned sick time, and will not have to make any changes to their policies. Question 4 simply sets a basic standard — and level of dignity — that all employers must meet, and prohibits retaliation against workers who use sick time.
At companies with 10 or fewer employees, workers would earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time to visit the doctor or take care of a sick family member. At companies with 11 or more employees, workers would earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time.
Large and small Massachusetts businesses including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cape Air, and Boyd’s Direct support earned sick time because they know it makes workers healthier, more productive, and more loyal to their employers. Businesses that have earned sick time also find that it helps their bottom line.
It also keeps money in the pockets of families, who can then spend it in their neighborhood on a haircut, new clothes for their kids, or eating lunch at a local diner. This is critical to boosting our local economies.
In places that already have earned sick time, such as San Francisco and Washington, D.C., job growth has been higher than in neighboring communities without the policy. Research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that existing earned sick time laws in San Francisco, Washington, Connecticut and Seattle help keep families financially secure and make business sense.