Campaign Launches to Advance Earned Paid Sick Days in Austin

/, Health and Wellness/Campaign Launches to Advance Earned Paid Sick Days in Austin

All workers, regardless of what kind of job they do or how much they earn, should be able to care for themselves or a loved one. Unfortunately an estimated 40 percent of Texas workers are at risk of losing wages or being fired if they follow doctor’s orders when they or a family member is ill.

A new Institute for Women’s Policy Research report with a first-time estimate of paid sick days access in Austin finds that a similar percentage (37 percent) of the Austin workforce lacks access to earned paid sick days. A lack of access to this basic benefit in Austin spans all occupations, incomes and races and ethnicities, with large disparities in access for Hispanic workers (52 percent lack access), low-income workers (46 percent of workers earning between $15,000 – $34,999 lack access), and part-time workers (73 percent of workers working less than 35 hours per week lack access).

The City of Austin has an important opportunity to advance an earned sick days ordinance for our community. That is why Work Strong Austin – a new coalition working to advance a citywide earned sick days policy in Austin – held a kick-off event at the Workers Defense Project offices on Labor Day.

CPPP’s Executive Director, Ann Beeson, spoke at the event, joining with other community leaders from Workers Defense, Unite Here, Fight for $15, and the Young Active Labor Leaders.

“For many Texas households currently struggling to cover basic expenses, days of lost pay due to illness can lead to financial turmoil,” said Beeson. “CPPP is proud to support this community effort to ensure that all Austin workers can earn paid sick days so they can care for themselves and their families.”

The City of Austin can help guarantee that all employees are able to care for themselves or a family member when illness strikes. Why support an earned sick days policy?

  • Earned Sick Days Are Good for FamiliesWhen more families are self-sufficient, we all benefit. For many Texas households currently struggling to cover basic expenses, days of lost pay lead to financial turmoil.
  • Earned Sick Days Are Good for the Economy – Earned sick days improve worker productivity and reduce worker turnover, which is a significant expense for employers.
  • Earned Sick Days Are Good for Public Health Earned sick days make communities healthier and reduce health care expenditures.

To get involved in the Work Strong Austin campaign, check out the campaign website and fact sheet.

Laura Rosen joined the Center for Public Policy Priorities in 2010. She is a policy analyst and the coordinator of OpportunityTexas, a joint initiative of RAISE Texas and CPPP to expand household savings in Texas. Laura completed her Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan in 2010 and received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. Before returning to graduate school, Laura worked as a relationship manager at Wells Fargo and was a Fulbright Scholar in Peru, where she researched microfinance. Laura also serves on the Texas Financial Education Endowment’s Grant Advisory Committee.

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