Paid Sick Leave
More than 44 million workers in the U.S. lack paid sick leave benefits. Workers are faced with the choice of losing income, going to work sick, or facing threats of job loss if they miss a day for a personal or family illness. Many jobs that lack paid sick leave can be found in low wage industries that are particularly vulnerable to disease, including child care, elder care, and food service. San Francisco and Washington D.C. are the only municipalities in the United States that require employers to provide paid sick leave, and Connecticut requires service sector employers to provide the policy to full time, non-salaried workers. Many states and cities are considering establishing paid sick leave legislation.
" [Paid sick leave] is the best public policy for the least cost. Do you want your server coughing over your food?" - Kevin Westlye, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association
"Since we work in such close quarters and often eat/ drink from the same plates, we used to have times when we had so many sick staff we’d have to close. Now, people stay home when they’re ill, thus not infecting the customers OR the other staff members."
- Jennifer Piallat, Owner, Zazie Restaurant in San Francisco
Cry Wolf Quotes
I’m going to have to raise prices for all my drinks and appetizers a dollar and entrees two dollars. I don’t know how else to do it. We are known as the best restaurant city in the world, but we are going to start lagging because there will be a lack of service, a lack of staff in the dining hall. Something has to give.
The Controller estimates that this bad idea will cost taxpayers up to $1 million to implement, not including lost welfare recipient work hours, and an unknown amount for city workers not currently eligible for sick time. Add to that the hundreds of jobs and the millions of dollars in sales taxes that will be lost to surrounding cities when diners and shoppers go elsewhere to save money.
I was concerned it would become more of a Paid Hangover Day! However, I’ve found that not only have my staff not abused the system, it’s led to us being much less likely to have the horrible “sick-outs” that restaurants are known for- where your entire staff is sick at once. Since we work in such close quarters and often eat/ drink from the same plates, we used to have times when we had so many sick staff we’d have to close. Now, people stay home when they’re ill, thus not infecting the customers OR the other staff members.
When the San Francisco paid sick days law was first being debated I, like many other local businesses, was concerned; now I appreciate its value. It creates a better, less stressful work environment and increases employee morale.
Related Laws and Rules
San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Outcomes for Employers and Employees
San Francisco’s paid sick leave ordinance is an overwhelming success.
Paid Sick Leave Does Not Harm Business Growth or Job Growth
The Drum Major Institute shows that the San Francisco paid sick leave law isn't a job killer.
Employers’ Perspectives on San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Policy
Most employers have installed San Francisco paid sick leave law with few problems.
Backgrounders & Briefs
Serving While Sick: High Risks and Low Benefits for the Nation’s Restaurant Workforce, and Their Impact on the Consumer
87.7 percent of restaurant workers report that they have no access to paid sick leave.
The Project on Global Working Families is a study that measures worldwide social safety nets.
Institute for Women’s Policy Research is a prominent think tank that is largely focused on American women's issues. This covers everything from pay equity to welfare reform to domestic violence.
MomsRising focuses on "bringing important motherhood and family issues."
The National Partnership for Women and Families leads the national fight for paid sick days and paid family and medical leave.
Family Values at Work is a advocacy network that fights for family and sick leave policies across the U.S.