The Southern Maine Workers’ Center and the Maine Women’s Lobby issued the following statement in support of Mayor Strimling’s support for the proposed paid sick time ordinance in his State of the City of Portland address tonight.
More than 25,000 workers in Portland cannot afford to take time off if they are ill or if they have a sick loved one because they can’t earn even one paid sick day. As the Mayor stated tonight, this means they can’t follow medical recommendations and stay home when they are ill during this terrible flu season. Instead they must go to work or send their children to school where their germs are spread to even more people. More than 25,000 workers can’t go to the doctor when they face a serious illness, when their child has a well-child checkup, or when they have a prenatal visit.
The proposed Paid Sick Time Ordinance before the Health and Human Services Committee is a common-sense solution that will not only help reduce the spread of illness, but help keep Portlanders healthier and make sure that a bout with the flu doesn’t lead to a financial crisis.
Studies show that people with paid sick days are more likely to get important preventative tests like mammography, Pap tests, and endoscopy at the recommended intervals. Access to paid sick days reduces on-the-job injuries, reduces turnover, and lowers costs to businesses from ‘presenteeism’, which is people showing up to work sick, when they’re not actually able to perform their job. Businesses also save money from reduced employee turnover when employees have access to paid sick time.
The proposal also addresses inequities in our workplaces. As the Mayor noted, People of Color, immigrants, low-wage workers, and women are more likely to be working without access to paid sick days.
Portland is a densely populated community with a large number of restaurants and the largest school district in Maine. Our health is dependent on one another’s responsible behavior.
Allowing all employees of all businesses in Portland—whether they are full-time or part-time—to earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work will make it possible for more workers to recover from illness, seek treatment, or support a loved one to do the same. Although the ordinance makes only a small change in the terms of work for Portland employees, it represents a significant opportunity to improve public health in our city — for residents, visitors, and children alike.
If you would like to help pass the Paid Sick Time ordinance, contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.622.0851. If your Portland business supports paid sick days, we have posters you can hang to show your support. Just let Jen know.
Healthy Workers Keep Portland Healthy. #KeepPortlandHealthy #PaidSickDays