FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco Voters Pass Paid Sick Days Measure, Paving the Way for Change the Country Urgently Needs
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, DC — November 8, 2006 — "There was a lot of news in yesterday’s election, but one victory that should not be overlooked is the passage by an overwhelming margin of an initiative guaranteeing paid sick days to San Francisco workers.
This first-of- its-kind measure is critically important, with San Francisco now poised to lead the way in demonstrating that a minimum standard of paid sick days makes sense for businesses, families and communities.
Paid sick days are the next frontier in the work to make America’s workplaces more family friendly. Everyone gets sick, but not everyone has time to get better. Nearly half of private sector workers in this country do not have a single paid sick day, and 86 million people do not have a paid sick day that can be used to care for a sick child. Low-wage workers are especially hard hit, with three in four without any paid sick days. As a result, half of working mothers report that they must miss work and often go without pay when caring for a sick child. And, with more than a third of Americans already with significant elder care responsibilities, the problem is likely to worsen in years ahead.
Providing paid sick days isn’t just good for workers and families. It benefits employers by reducing turnover, improving productivity and increasing morale, which leads to employee retention. If American workers had just seven paid sick days a year, experts estimate that we would save $8.2 billion per year.
San Francisco’s new law will mean that every worker in the city will have access to paid sick days to use for their own illness or to care for a sick family member. It is a reasonable measure that accommodates small employers that may not be able to provide as much paid sick leave. We congratulate Young Workers United and the coalition of allies in San Francisco who worked tirelessly to develop and pass this measure, which we are convinced will become a model for the country. The National Partnership for Women & Families will work to ensure that more cities and states follow, and that the new Congress considers paid sick days legislation next year. San Francisco is paving the way for change the country urgently needs."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan 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.