SICK LEAVE DEBATE CONTINUES
September 5, 2012
To the Editor:
Jon Gilbert and Nancy Ploeger’s opposition to paid sick days legislation (“Paid Sick Days Proposal Risks Jobs, Bad for Everyone,” Aug. 29-Sep. 11) relies on exaggerated claims and incomplete facts to argue it will be bad for businesses. The authors cite a business owner with 21 employees who would face an additional $33,000 annual payroll cost under the law. The only way this number could be accurate is by assuming that all 21 employees use all nine of their sick days and that each employee makes $ 45,000-$50,000 annually. A more honest additional cost estimate would assume workers making a much lower wage, as these are the workers least likely to currently have paid sick days, with each worker only utilizing about half of their nine days of paid sick time. The authors also cite statistics for San Francisco showing a drop in workers per establishment at quick service restaurants since a paid sick leave ordinance went into effect there. Looking at the overall number of workers in all restaurants, San Francisco has actually enjoyed greater growth (4.8 percent) than surrounding counties (0.7 percent) since the law was passed. As they do for nearly every piece of legislation aimed at improving the lives of low-wage workers, business interests are sounding alarm bells that simply don’t ring true. It is time for Speaker Quinn to stop getting her “facts” from people known to cry wolf, and bring paid sick days legislation to the floor for a vote.
Community Service Society
September 4, 2012
To the Editor:
As a queer woman of color who has waited tables in New York City restaurants since 2009, it was disheartening to read someone else claim that paid sick days are bad for me. Like most restaurant workers, I’ve never had paid sick days, and this has forced me to go to work while injured and sick because I couldn’t afford to take time off. I work hard, but it’s barely enough to even cover the bills, and missing a day could mean being late on rent.
At a previous job, I had to take a few days off to care for family, but when I came back for my next shift, I found out I had been fired. If I had had sick days, I would have been able to take the time off to help family get better without losing my job or worrying about making rent. The City Council’s paid sick days bill is not just well intentioned. For over a million NYC workers, it is an urgent necessity.
The writer is a New York City restaurant worker and a member of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York.
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