National Partnership for Women & Families

For Labor Day, New Poll Shows Paid Sick Days Standards Are a Bipartisan Voting Issue

Voters Favor the Workplace Standard, Reject Business Lobby's Arguments, Reward Lawmakers for Supporting the Paid Sick Days Workers Need
Washington, D.C. — September 1, 2011 —
Amidst nationwide efforts to dismantle workplace standards, new poll results released for Labor Day by the National Partnership for Women & Families reveal that Connecticut voters look favorably on lawmakers who supported the state’s new paid sick days law. Connecticut became the first state to pass a paid sick days law in June after a long battle. With the law set to take effect in January, an overwhelming majority of the state’s voters identify paid sick days as central to families’ economic security and are poised to reward legislators who voted in favor of the new law.

“Connecticut lawmakers showed historic leadership for working families when they passed America’s first statewide paid sick days law, and this poll shows that voters are more likely to support them because they did,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “We are seeing attacks on workers’ rights across the nation, and legislators’ approval ratings are low. Lawmakers at all levels should take a lesson from Connecticut and support paid sick days and other family friendly measures. It’s what voters want and what working families need.”

The poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates, found that 73 percent of registered voters in Connecticut support the new law, including 61 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents and 87 percent of Democrats. Support is particularly strong among women; 83 percent said they favor the legislation, compared to 63 percent of men.

The long-term, aggressive opposition to the law from Connecticut’s business lobby and concerns about the economy seem to have had little impact. Even when presented with arguments about it being the wrong time to place “an unnecessary burden” on businesses, 71 percent of voters disagreed, agreeing instead that it is more important than ever to enact common sense policies like paid sick days to protect workers and their families in tough times.

Voters’ support for the new law significantly affected their opinions of their legislators. According to poll results, voters whose elected officials voted for the law said it made them more favorable toward those officials in the next election by 32 points in the Senate and 41 points in the House of Representatives. Voters whose elected officials voted against the law said they were less favorable toward those officials by 32 points in the Senate and 31 points in the House.

"[T]he issue of paid sick days brings together a consensus coalition of voters from across the political spectrum," Hart Research concluded in its memo on the poll results. "An overwhelming share of voters believes that paid sick days laws protect working families and balance the needs of employees and employers. Moreover, the survey results show that paid sick days has significant potential as a mobilizing issue during campaigns and elections, and particularly energizes hard-to-reach constituencies."

"This poll makes clear that paid sick days not only benefit working families, public health and businesses’ bottom lines, but also that the issue is a winning one for elected officials," Ness added. "Women, men, Republicans, Democrats, independents and others care about paid sick days, and they want their legislators to care too."

Connecticut’s paid sick days law, signed by Governor Malloy in early July, guarantees service workers in businesses with 50 or more employees the right to earn up to five paid sick days per year starting in January 2012.

The Labor Day poll was conducted through a phone survey of 500 registered voters in the state from July 26 to July 28, 2011. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. The topline results can be found here: www.nationalpartnership.org/CTsurvey. The Hart Research Associates memo summarizing the findings can be found here: www.nationalpartnership.org/CTmemo.

Contact

Sadie Kliner (202) 986-2600 skliner@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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