April 5, 2016: For immediate release
Workers and Faith Leaders Insist on Paid Sick Days Ordinance
Call for swift action after release of Task Force Report
Contact: Shelly Ruzicka
[email protected] I 773-251-5003
Arise Chicago welcomes the release of the long-awaited Working Families Task Force report. The report represents recommendations, including a framework for paid sick days, based on the different voices represented on the task force.
“Arise Chicago is pleased that the mayor engaged and listened to the working people of the city, including our members, who are in desperate need of relief in the form of paid sick time” said Worker Center Program Director, Adam Kader. “We now urge the administration and City Council to swiftly pass an ordinance based on the report’s recommendations.”
Abraham Cabrera is a restaurant delivery driver and member of Arise Chicago who has never had paid sick days. “I work hard to provide for my two young children, both of whom have asthma. When one becomes sick, I must bring them to the ER, stay with them for the day, and miss a day of work and pay. No one should have to chose between the physical health of the kids and the financial health of their family. There are many thousands of workers just like me who face these impossible choices, and who would have concretely better lives with a paid sick days ordinance.”
Arise Chicago’s members are low-wage, primarily immigrant workers and workers of color, working in the lowest paid industries across Chicago, and would all greatly benefit from such an ordinance.
Rev. Liz Muñoz, from Nuestra Señora de las Américas church in Logan Square, and Arise board member sees the benefits an ordinance would have on the working class Latino members she serves. “Low-wage workers, who are disproportionately from Black and Latino communities, have the least access to paid sick days. Passing a paid sick days ordinance therefore is not only the morally right thing to do, but would help address economic and racial injustice in Chicago.”
Arise board member Ana Laura Lopez worked in retail for 10 years without paid sick days.
“They always told us that if we needed time off we had to give two weeks notice, which was sometimes illogical or impossible. No one plans when they or their child will be sick. Employers must not forget that we are human beings, we are parents, who want to be home with our kids when they get sick just like they do. I really hope for a paid sick days ordinance. It will benefit working parents and really, all workers.”
Faith leaders agree that paid sick days are critical for building strong and healthy families and communities across Chicago.
“Being able to care for one’s health and the health of family members is a moral issue. A low-wage worker should have the same ability as any other worker to stay home and care for sick child. A paid sick days ordinance can make that a reality” stated Rev. John Thomas, Arise Chicago board member
A paid sick days ordinance would affect almost half of all private sector workers in Chicago. Such an ordinance would mean that workers would no longer need to literally choose between their health and their job. A paid sick days ordinance would also mean that, in many workplaces, such as any related to food production or service, the public’s health would be protected.
A complete statement on the release of the report is available on the Arise Chicago website.
Below is an excerpt from the Working Families Task Force Report’s Executive Summary
Paid Sick Leave
The Task Force recommended a framework that would provide workers with paid sick leave while having a nominal impact on employer costs. This proposal would:
- Allow workers to accrue and use up to 5 earned sick days over the course of 1 year.
- Workers would earn sick time at a rate of 1 hour earned for every 40 hours worked. This approach ensures that employees earn and accrue sick time at a proportional rate based on hours worked.
- Accrued sick leave could be used by new employees after an initial 6-month probationary period.
- Allow employees to roll over up to 2.5 unused sick days to the following year.
- Exempt employers that offer combined leave benefits such as Paid Time Off (PTO) from these requirements as long as employees could accrue and use up to 5 days of PTO within a calendar year.
- This framework would not require the pay out of unused sick days by the employer and it would also exempt sick leave benefits that are negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement.