All workers should be able to earn paid sick days

//All workers should be able to earn paid sick days

For many Austinites, being unable to go to work because of an illness can mean lost wages, or worse, loss of a job. This is unacceptable, and it’s time for the city to recognize that all workers, regardless of where they work or how much they earn, should be able to care for themselves or a loved one if they are sick.

On Thursday, advocates from Center for Public Policy Priorities, Workers Defense Project, Fight for 15 Texas, Young Active Labor Leaders (YALL), Unite Here Local 23, and many others gathered at Austin City Hall to advocate for a policy that would allow for all workers in the city to be able to earn paid sick days. Sponsored by Council Member Gregorio Casar, the resolution initiates a fall public input process on paid sick days and the policy solution that works best for Austin. Thankfully, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.

CPPP is proud to be providing valuable data and policy analysis to the “Work Strong Austin” campaign.

There are a number of studies examining the impact of a paid sick days policy after it’s gone into effect, and they find many positive impacts and generally no negative impacts on businesses. These studies find that:

It’s important to note that businesses are already incurring costs by not providing sick days through reduced productivity and increased worker turnover. Workers that have sick days are 25% less likely to leave their job.

It is a minimum job standard for most workers to be able to earn paid sick days, which is why similar policies have been implemented in over 40 local jurisdictions and states across the U.S. All of the lessons learned in those communities can help Austin craft the best policy for the people that live here.

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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