Hello from the Mile High City! This is Rachel Lyons, work and family government affairs manager at the National Partnership, reporting live from Denver — home of the Broncos, the unsinkable Molly Brown and, hopefully, the fourth citywide paid sick days law. I am excited to be here in my old stomping grounds (Go Buffs!) to volunteer with the Campaign for a Healthy Denver.
As soon as I arrived, a conversation with Krista, a former restaurant worker, reminded me of why I am here, and why Initiative 300 is so important. Krista used to be a waitress in Denver. She knows firsthand the impact paid sick days can have on the health of workers and the public. One time, Krista tried calling in sick to work with the stomach flu and was told to “just bring a bag” with her to the restaurant. She says she was visibly ill and vomiting, but she had to work because she could not afford to go without pay or to lose her job.
Krista is not alone. An appalling 74 percent of Denver’s restaurant workers don’t have a single paid sick day. That means many of them are forced to go to work sick just like Krista was — and that puts everyone at risk.
There is a solution. Initiative 300 will allow workers to earn up to nine paid sick days a year (five in small businesses) to recover from illness or to care for a sick family member. Passing paid sick days will protect and promote the health of Denver’s workers, families, businesses and economy. That’s why I’m here working for paid sick days and a healthy Denver.
I’ll keep you updated on our work. For now, spread the word to all your friends and family in Denver: “Vote Yes on I-300 on November 1st!”