Paid Sick Leave Passes

Only Richard Conlin Voted Against Worker Benefits

On September 12, the Seattle City Council adopted paid-sick-leave legislation, requiring all businesses with five or more employees to offer paid time off to their workers when they fall ill.

"The role of city government is protecting the most vulnerable in our city," said Council Member Tim Burgess, one of eight council members who approved the bill despite some reservations. Only council president Richard Conlin cast a dissenting vote.

On the dais, Conlin used inscrutable logic to explain his opposition: The bill "differentiates among workers... I don't see how this kind of inequality could be justified," he said, ostensibly referring to the fact that smaller businesses would provide only five sick-leave days a year to their employees, while larger companies would have to provide at least nine.

However, he didn't acknowledge that voting "no" was endorsing a greater form of inequality—maintaining the status quo for Seattle's 190,000 low-wage workers who lack these basic benefits.

When the measure takes effect in September 2012, the sick-leave ordinance will provide workers days off for personal illness, to care for a sick child or family member, or to deal with domestic-violence issues.

The city's Office for Civil Rights and the city auditor will issue a report on the law's impact on businesses one year after it takes effect. recommended


Comments (3) RSS

Newest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Let's be fair to Richard Conlin- his objections were much larger than conbveyed by this article. He objected to proponents- organized labor- exempting themselves from the new ordinance, as well as the many other exemptions included in the ordinance. No one gets out from under any other fair labor standards, occupational safety and health requirements, or public health regulations through collective bargaining, by having too few employees, or by being a new business. What is needed is needed for all employees, not just some employees, and Conlin was the only councilmember with the backbone to point out- and vote against- the hypocrisy.
Posted by Jim King on September 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM · Report this
What next?A living wage for ALL persons who work in Seattle?
Posted by 5th Columnist on September 16, 2011 at 6:24 PM · Report this
Anthropomorhpise Me 1
The path to hell is paved with good intentions.
Posted by Anthropomorhpise Me on September 14, 2011 at 1:36 PM · Report this

Add a comment