You’ve heard from those against. Now, Cary Chevat and a long list of others write in support of the Earned Sick Leave resolution on the Montclair ballot next Tuesday. The letter also appears on the BlueWave NJ website
On Tuesday, November 4th, voters in Montclair will have the opportunity to join a growing number of New Jersey municipalities that allow private sector workers to earn paid sick days. A local ballot initiative would allow nearly all private sector workers to earn 3-5 days per year to care for themselves or their families when illness strikes. For voters who want to keep Montclair’s families, workplaces and local economy healthy, our top priority can be found at the bottom of the November 4th ballot.
For people with paid sick days, it can be easy to take them for granted. But nearly one quarter of adults in the United States have either lost their job or had their job threatened because of a family illness. For the over 40 percent of Montclair workers who lack paid sick days, every cold becomes a crisis and every child’s fever could spell economic catastrophe.
Allowing workers to earn paid sick days isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do for our community. Workers without sick days go to work sick or send their sick children to school, prolonging illnesses and spreading infectious diseases. During the H1N1 epidemic, 7 million people caught the virus because co-workers came to work sick. Even worse, food service, personal healthcare and childcare workers are the least likely to have paid sick days. It puts us all at risk.
Every time a paid sick day law is proposed, some businesses insist the sky will fall. But the dire predictions never materialize. Six in seven San Francisco employers reported no decrease in profitability after its law went into effect. Far from abusing the law, workers used their sick days as intended. The average worker in Connecticut and San Francisco used only half of the days allotted to them. In San Francisco, a quarter of workers used no sick days at all.
And far from losing jobs, San Francisco and Seattle both outpaced their neighbors in job growth since passing paid sick days laws. Jersey City has also gained jobs more quickly than the rest of the state since passing New Jersey’s first paid sick days law in January.
That’s because paid sick days laws keep our economy healthy, too. People coming to work sick costs our country $180 billion per year through reduced productivity and increased workplace infection, higher than the cost of absenteeism. Paid sick days reduce employee turnover, one of the biggest costs for business. And, as with minimum wage increases, workers use the additional pay to spend in local businesses, stimulating the economy.
After seeing how well the laws have worked, a majority of businesses in San Francisco and Seattle now support them. Even the chief lobbyist against paid sick days in San Francisco calls paid sick days “the greatest benefit for the least cost.”
This is a win-win for Montclair workers and businesses. We urge voters to vote YES on the municipal public question at the bottom of the ballot for a stronger, healthier Montclair.
• Marcia Marley
• Cary & Beth Chevat
• Bob Russo: Deputy Mayor Montclair
• Sean Spiller, 3rd Ward Council Member
• Robin Schlager, 2nd Ward Council Member
• Jerry Fried, Former Mayor:
• Ed Remsen, Former Mayor:
• Kathryn Weller-Demming, former Deputy Mayor:
• Cary Africk, Former 2nd Ward Council Member
• Nick Lewis, Former 3d Ward Council Member:
• Richard Insley: Former Municipal Court Judge:
• Mitch Heisler:
• Thomas Reynolds
• Charles Rosen:
• Debra Kagan
• Stan Karp:
• Susan Vaninwegen:
• John Atlas:
• Judith Rew:
• John Reichman:
• Nataki and Kwame Williams
• Nancy Erika Smith
• Michelle Fine
• Claire Ciliotta
• Mara Novak
• Linda Halper
• Michael Yellin
• Jim Price:
• Cynthia Stagoff
• Emily Barocas
• Joanne Zippel