Who's Getting Snotty About Sick Leave?

Industry Lobbies Are Trying Four Tactics to Undermine a Bill Designed to Help Seattle Workers

  • comments (53)
  • Print
+ Enlarge this Image
James Yamasaki

On September 12, the Seattle City Council passed a paid sick leave ordinance, thankfully with none of the amendments outlined below (except for a watered-down version of amendment one). Hurrah!

Keep this in mind as you bite into a juicy burger at your favorite digs this week: An estimated 40 percent of Seattle's workforce can't get a paid day off of work when they're sick.

For restaurant workers, this means serving food while they also cough, sniffle, rub their noses... you get the picture. And according to the Economic Opportunity Institute, a research and policy center based in Seattle, one in four grocery-store employees—the people fondling your produce—report coming to work sick because they don't have paid sick days.

But that may soon change.

On Monday, September 12, the Seattle City Council is slated to vote on legislation that would require all Seattle employers to offer up to 72 hours of annual paid sick leave to the 190,000 full-time workers in the city who currently lack that benefit. Not only useful when they're ill, a worker could use the paid days off to care for a family member or deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

"Everybody has agreed that this is a fundamental need, that this is a norm that should be provided," declared Council Member Sally Clark at an August 10 meeting of the council's Housing, Human Services, Health & Culture Committee. The committee then approved a robust version—with a handful of concessions to business lobbies—of the paid sick days legislation.

But don't expect easy passage when the full council convenes on Monday.

"I'm not sure we have exactly the right proposal before us," council president Richard Conlin said in August.

Taking advantage of the council's trepidation, lobbies for downtown businesses, large employers, and the hospitality industry are putting the screws on. With days left before the vote, city hall sources tell The Stranger that lobbies are shopping around various amendments that would weaken the bill. It remains unclear which council members will introduce the amendments (council members were in the midst of a two-week vacation at press time), but all are crafted to kneecap a sick-leave law—similar to one that's already proven cost-effective in San Francisco—in the interest of saving certain industries money while watering down benefits for their employees.

Amendment One:

An Exemption for Large Companies

Who wants a big loophole? The big boys, naturally.

One proposal in the wings would excuse companies with over 1,000 employees from complying with the law (think Nordstrom, Whole Foods, QFC). As some of these companies have pointed out, they already give their employees paid days off work. According to the Washington State Employment Security Department, 75 percent of large companies in the state offer some form of paid leave. But what these companies don't proffer is that the time off isn't designated for sick leave (it could be used for vacation), and this measure would require providing more paid time off than many of them provide now.

For example, let's consider Nordstrom, a member of the Downtown Seattle Association, which opposes the sick-leave bill. Under the current ordinance, Nordstrom would need to provide up to 72 hours—or nine sick days—per year. The retail giant already offers its full-time employees 104 hours of paid time off—but that includes vacation, holiday, and sick leave all lumped together. The ordinance would require Nordstrom to add another 34.7 hours of paid leave for its workers and mandate that half of the total 138.7 hours (or roughly 69 hours—eight and a half days) be reserved for sick leave.

By not specifically distinguishing accrued paid sick leave from vacation time, employees are more likely to work sick, in order to save their paid time off for vacations and holidays. So you may still have sick workers on the job.

Amendment Two:

Singling Out Union Workers

This measure would allow a company that employs unionized workers to exempt its businesses from the sick-leave requirements, on the grounds that the ordinance doesn't comply with current union contracts. If adopted by the council, dozens of major grocery stores in Seattle wouldn't extend sick-leave benefits to their employees (who are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers 21). But being a union member doesn't mean those workers don't need sick-leave coverage. Currently, Safeway employees' sick leave doesn't kick in until their third day of illness, according to their union contract. "I can't afford to take those two days off," says Tracie Chapman, a single mom who's worked for a Safeway store in Seattle for 13 years. Chapman's daughter has a chronic heart condition that lands her in the hospital on a regular basis. "My manager has flat out told me that I need to choose between my job and my daughter," Chapman says. "But what am I supposed to do? Not be there for my infant? She has no one else."

Amendment Three:

Postponing Benefits

As the bill now stands, employees could begin accruing sick leave as soon as they're hired, and then they could use those benefits after six months. But grocers and other lobbies want to postpone that date. During two July meetings convened by the city council (meetings that included the Manufacturing Industrial Council, Northwest Grocery Association, Washington Restaurant Association, and Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, among others), a majority of stakeholders asked the council to delay the date that employees could begin accumulating paid time off, for up to 180 days. That's crazy. If an employee has been working for six months, he or she has already earned a chance to stay home sick for a day or two without being docked pay or getting fired.

Amendment Four:

Exempting Construction and Manufacturing Workers

This amendment would excuse the construction and manufacturing industries from the ordinance. "It's certainly not wildly popular to go to bat for major employers," began Clark on August 10 (before swinging that bat hard). "How does this work in the culture of the construction industry?" Clark asked, expressing concern about so-called enforceability issues with contracts. Yes, construction and manufacturing jobs are cyclical, and jobs are not always based within city limits. And, sure, that makes accruing and tracking paid sick time for Seattle's 65,000 construction and manufacturing employees more complicated. But is it fair to argue that some workers are entitled to get sick while others—the ones operating heavy machinery and power tools—aren't?

While businesses with the council's ear are clearly motivated to protect their bottom line, their claims that paying for sick leave would cause economic harm appear unfounded.

A 2010 report conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research studying the aftereffects of paid-sick-leave laws in San Francisco indicates that employers' profitability didn't suffer and employees were unlikely to abuse their paid sick days. Seventy percent of the 727 business owners polled said the ordinance didn't affect their profitability; typically, workers used only three paid sick days per year (and one quarter of workers used none).

Besides, council members have already made numerous concessions in the draft of the bill that's before them. For example: They've exempted businesses with fewer than five employees, excluded work-study students, and stipulated that employees must wait six months before they can use the sick days.

If passed, Seattle would be the fourth city in the country to pass a law like this. In San Francisco, "businesses are doing better than surrounding cities and counties after the implementation of their ordinance," assures Marilyn Watkins, policy director of the Economic Opportunity Institute. "It promotes healthy small businesses." recommended


Comments (53) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
"This measure would allow a company that employs unionized workers to exempt its businesses from the sick-leave requirements, on the grounds that the ordinance doesn't comply with current union contracts."

How laughable.That's like saying unionized workers are exempt from any labor laws because they are not written in the contract. The Family and Medical Leave Act,the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Jones Act, along with many other labor laws applies to me, even though they are not specifically written in the contract with my employer.

"But is it fair to argue that some workers are entitled to get sick while others—the ones operating heavy machinery and power tools—aren't?"

Remember the Staten Island ferry accident in 2003 that killed 11 people? The operator was on medication that affected his situational awareness. Do I want somebody operating a bulldozer or bus that is on medication that is affecting their situational awareness? Fuck no.

I call bullshit on all of the exemptions cited in this article. They are pathetic excuses. Sick workers ultimately hurt employers' bottom lines because a sick worker is less productive and unsafe. Offer paid sick leave you asshole employers who don't already do so. Nobody should be going to work sick.

Posted by Smell on September 7, 2011 at 10:22 AM · Report this
Let's not kid ourselves here. Employees are going to come into work sick whether or not they have paid sick leave. The only thing paid sick leave does is make it slightly easier for employees to stay home when they're genuinely too sick to work (which they would've done anyway).
Posted by Sean P. on September 7, 2011 at 10:54 AM · Report this
wisepunk 3
Safeway Manager: fuck you. No seriously, fuck you, I hope someone you love gets hit by a fucking car and your boss asks you to choose between them and your job. Assholes like that make assholes like me stop shopping at the business in question. Safeway, you just lost another customer.
Posted by wisepunk on September 7, 2011 at 11:37 AM · Report this
New regulation is the last thing Seattle small businesses need right now.
Posted by _db_ on September 7, 2011 at 3:43 PM · Report this
#4, then again, you'd say that having to PAY employees enough to not have to choose between food or shelter is the last thing small businesses need right now...or any other time...

You probably think Ayn Rand was writing NONFICTION. And I'll bet you had Fox News on while you were writing that post.
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 7, 2011 at 7:43 PM · Report this
Management doesn't want healthy employees. They just want five or ten years of slave labor out of most of us, followed by a quick trip to an early grave. The bosses would be perfectly happy to see life expectancy for non-millionaires fall back to 50 or so.
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 7, 2011 at 7:44 PM · Report this
@5 I'm just pointing out a fact of life. It sucks but it's true. I don't watch cable news.
Posted by _db_ on September 7, 2011 at 7:46 PM · Report this
Slave labor means you do not get paid. Where in Seattle are people not getting paid for their work?
Posted by _db_ on September 7, 2011 at 7:49 PM · Report this
If the wage isn't enough to cover both rent AND food, it is effectively slave labor(even if the employees aren't literally working for no compensation at all).

Also, there are a lot of people(in Seattle and other places) doing unpaid full-time work...they are called interns. They work as hard and for as many hours as paid staff, yet receive no wages or benefits(or, at best, a "stipend").
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 7, 2011 at 9:24 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 10
How does raising the cost for companies to do business help?
Posted by KittenKoder on September 7, 2011 at 10:16 PM · Report this
11 helps keep their customers healthier by reducing their exposure to illnesses that could be transmitted by employees(most of whom are, currently, FORCED to choose between working while sick or losing wages and/or their jobs)?

I assume arguments like "it's the right thing to do" or "that's how human beings are SUPPOSED to treat each other" carry no weight with someone like you, since you're probably just the sort of 20-year-old "eight feet tall and bullet-proof" white kid who thinks "the magic of the market" is the shit. Perhaps, when you get a little older and you realize that we're all mortal, we're all connected, and that nobody really makes it "all on their own", you'll grow a bit of a soul.
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 8, 2011 at 12:03 AM · Report this
Sorry, that should have read "that could be transmitted by SICK employees"...
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 8, 2011 at 12:04 AM · Report this
@11 That must be it......
Posted by _db_ on September 8, 2011 at 12:09 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 14
I'm sorry #11 ... was there an actual answer in there somewhere?
Posted by KittenKoder on September 8, 2011 at 1:26 AM · Report this
Rmember common sense:
If businesses (especially small businesses) are forced to provide paid sick leave, the higher costs will translate into fewer employees or fewer hours for employees, since costs per worker will be higher.

That means this benefit will actually decrease employment (and possibly decrease hours for many of those still employed thereafter).

Regulations have consequences. This will not be just a simple benefits change.
Posted by q9 on September 8, 2011 at 10:27 AM · Report this
The Milton Friedman cult are out in force in this thread...parroting "the line" blindly.

It isn't ALWAYS about money, folks. And, sometimes, business SHOULD be obligated to make some investment in the greater good...which includes public health.

Making employees choose between working sick and either losing pay or their jobs harms workers, customers(and thus, in the long run, the businesses themselves, who will lose money if their customers either stop coming in due to contagion in the business or come in any way or sicken and even die of employee-borne illness).

Keeping everyone healthy should be part of a truly moral "bottom line".
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 8, 2011 at 11:34 AM · Report this
It's about short-term investment in health for the long-term survival of both the businesses AND the rest of society.

And, let's face it, rather than doing anything to boost the economy with their current profits, most corporations today are just putting the profits in the bank, which helps no one other than the shareholders(and most of us will never be shareholders, since you have to be rich to buy a significant number of shares)and which does nothing to bolster the economy.

Why should business be allowed to behave like that?

Business is supposed to be just ONE part of this country...not the only part that matters.
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 8, 2011 at 11:37 AM · Report this
@17: Bravo!! I couldn't have expressed it better!!

We need a modern day Robin Hood. If the corporations suddenly lost all their ill-gotten taxpayers' bailout dollars (oh, boo hoo!), wouldn't that also take away their relentless power, too?

Posted by auntie grizelda on September 8, 2011 at 12:30 PM · Report this
fixo 19
@18. Hey auntie, I have a small business with 11 employees, 5 of whom are non-exempt. Where do I go pick up my firm's ill-gotten taxpayer bailout?

Advocate for this law all you want, folks, but don't pretend it will not be a new burden on business to comply with it, whether we're in favor of it (I am) or not; and kindly spare us your sophomoric broad brushstrokes about business and how all of us in business are Simon Legree. Yeah, I mean you @6.
Posted by fixo on September 8, 2011 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Ok, you're not ALL "Simon Legree". But few of you challenge the Legrees. If all small businesses had come out for single-payer healthcare, rather than joining the corporations in fighting to water Obama's already half-hearted bill down to nothing, there'd be much less of a case for this legislation.

And don't use code phrases like "a burden on business". That's straight out of the Michele Bachmann phrasebook.

You might support a federal leave subsidy, which would re-imburse companies such as yours for any paid sick leave.

Whether or not you're personally a bad person isn't the issue. The issue is this:

It is dangerous to public health(to say nothing of being stone immoral)to force anyone to choose between working sick and losing wages or possibly losing their job. Something has to be done to make sure that NOBODY faces that choice. That's what a decent society does.
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 8, 2011 at 2:11 PM · Report this
I have a family member who works for Nordstrom and I can confirm that what the article suggests is EXACLY what happens. People don't want to cancel their holiday plans to visit family or something because they already used all their vacation days staying home with the flu. So they come to work sick.

@2 I work somewhere with decent vacation time and extremely generous sick time, and people rarely come to work sick.

Posted by Actionsquid on September 8, 2011 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Hey, I like having my sick and vacation lumped into PTO. I don't use many days so I end up with more vacation time. That way when you change jobs, you get the full pay out of unused PTO.
Posted by garumph on September 8, 2011 at 2:31 PM · Report this
GQbd 23
Back in the day I employed people and just wrestling with the social security tax withholding was pain enough. I don't miss it. If you can it's better just to work for yourself and not have to deal employees. Sure, hiring employees allows you to grow your business and make more money but money has to be weighed against headaches and quality of life. I mean, the reasons for doing this are fine and good, but don't be surprised if small businesses find a way to do without more employees or even the employees they already have if the burden of having employees gets too large.
Posted by GQbd on September 8, 2011 at 2:36 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 24
@23 don't bother, the blind "hate the corporations" crowds refuse to see the connection between raising the cost of doing business and businesses moving to other countries.

But there's another side that is always ignored, by all the groups, the poor. Raising the price to do business hurts us, a lot, it is one of the driving forces behind increasing how much things cost, but hey, if everyone is happy trying to cure a symptom without ever looking for the cause, that's fine, I'll just figure out how to live on your tax dollars to cover those increases in prices. It's worked great for many of us so far.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 8, 2011 at 3:40 PM · Report this
Geni 25
Everyone acts like this has Never Been Done Before! and No Small Business Could Possibly Survive! Yet this HAS been done before - it's mandated in many other countries and a number of municipalities, including San Francisco. In none of them have all the small business owners had to close up shop. Crying doom and gloom about how terrible this is just doesn't wash when it's being done in civilized places with success already.
Posted by Geni on September 8, 2011 at 4:00 PM · Report this
@25 Wait, you're bringing FACTS into the argument?? HOW DARE YOU!!
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on September 8, 2011 at 4:09 PM · Report this
Cascadian 27
I am a contract technical writer in Seattle without any paid time off.

Until a year ago, I had 10 days of sick leave and 20 days of vacation time, and 10 paid holidays.

When I had time off, I would stay home when I was sick. I don't anymore. This legislation would be good for me, my employer, my fellow employees, and the city. And it's the right thing to do even if it didn't have a health impact on other people.
Posted by Cascadian on September 8, 2011 at 4:58 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 28
@25 ... it's not the businesses closing down that worries everyone.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 8, 2011 at 5:04 PM · Report this
@19: I meant taking back from the BIG corporations chortling all the way to the bank and the Wall Street crooks stealing OUR tax dollars--and getting away with it, sweetie. I'm a small business owner, too, so I hear ya.

And if I could steal it back, believe me, I'd give you, and everyone else a big chunk!
Posted by auntie grizelda on September 8, 2011 at 6:31 PM · Report this
KittenKoder, stop drinking the libertarian koolaid and think for yourself!

"Raising the cost to businesses" is just a corporate codephrase for "no one has the right to expect us to treat our employees like human beings".

Ever since 1980, we've done it YOUR way in this country...and no good has come of letting business call the tune on these issues. The rich have won and everyone else has lost.

It's time to stop treating corporations like angry gods who have to be appeased. At some point our economic system stopped being capitalism and turned into extortionism.
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 8, 2011 at 8:36 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 31
@30 ... actually I'm a liberal, but nice labeling there. Also, you have not done it "my way" at all, not since long before I was born. My way is to stop hounding corporations and start asking the government to do it's job, as well as doctors (though that one's recent) instead of expecting people to babysit you. I was one of the original environmentalists of my generation, supported gay rights even when I was forced to go to church as a kid, but I also remember when prices were lower, and don't go blaming corporations for that one, without them, we could not live today. Face it, unless we slaughter our own for food, there's no way we could survive without them now. It's not their fault for that either. The sad thing is that you think businesses actually control the government, when the politicians you vote for own those businesses. If you really were worried about corporations making decisions you'd stop voting for the same idiots all the time.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 9, 2011 at 7:00 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 32
@31: "My way is to stop hounding corporations and start asking the government to do it's job"

Which is entirely preferable.

HOWEVER it is easier to change locally than it is nationally.
Posted by undead ayn rand on September 9, 2011 at 11:48 AM · Report this
This was an outstanding article, Ms. Madrid.

Very well done!
Posted by sgt_doom on September 9, 2011 at 4:46 PM · Report this
The legislation is patronizing and infantalizing. Nobody should work somewhere where they they may not be sick and stay home for fear of being fired.

That would be good legislation - to address the few bad employers who behave that way.

But this legislation makes businesses pay for being sick and a few other reasons. Adults are capable of saving their money for vacations and for the inevitable times when they are sick a few days. Those of us who are self-employed know what this is all about, and decide how much we want to or can work, and earn accordingly. Stupid law for and by stupid people.
Posted by Park Place on September 10, 2011 at 11:35 PM · Report this
@34: Give me a break. Like all those people have a choice whether to work for a compassionate company. Many profit-driven companies would happily operate as sweatshops if there weren't laws to prevent it. Those of us who are self-employed -- at least this self-employed commenter -- work our asses off even when we're sick, and hope that we never become so ill that we can't work for a week or longer. But I also work at home, so if I have to write a story from the ol' sickbed, I'm not going to pass along my flu to the poor overworked mom in the cubicle next to mine, who saves her scant vacation days for family visits, and who will then have to choose between staying home, unpaid, or going in to work and getting even more people sick.
Posted by SDtoSeattle on September 11, 2011 at 12:48 PM · Report this
#34...yeah's EASY to save your money at the wages Big Mermaid pays.

Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 11, 2011 at 5:12 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 37
@36 I make $721 a month, that's it, and I can save up for almost anything, your point? If someone can't save up money while working, they need to rethink their priorities, seriously.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 11, 2011 at 11:02 PM · Report this
Do you have kids?
Do any of those kids have health issues?
Do you have student loans to repay?
Do you want your kids to be able to go to college(the only chance anyone has to get a decent job these days)?
Do you have physical and/or mental health issues?
Does the person you share your life with have them?
Can you(as most of us can't)afford private insurance to cover those health issues?
Do you have elderly parents to take care of?
Do you have a small home you're desperately trying to hang onto?

If you don't have any of the above situations in your life, you're not entitled to judge other people for being unable to save money for contingencies(in the REAL world, most people are forced to live paycheck-to-paycheck, with more being forced into that situation every day, due to the corporate obsession with lowering wages as much as possible) and if you DON'T face any of those situations(most people face several of them at once) you really can't make an assumption about whether other people can save based solely on your own experience.

Try a little humility sometime. A little basic empathy as well. Or at least try listening to what most typical human beings are going through in this magical market economy of ours.

We're all in this together. Nobody has ever really made it solely on their own efforts. Nobody ever really will. Life just doesn't work that way.
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on September 12, 2011 at 4:13 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 39
@38 So you don't think people who live the same life you do are in the "real" world, that's sad. You do realize that single, without kids, is because of living intelligently not being an idiot, right?
Posted by KittenKoder on September 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM · Report this
@ 38 & 39: Interestingly, I agree with both of you on different points.

I certainly do know about humility. Up until the last couple of years, I had both my beloved elderly parents with Parkinson's to help care for---at least to the best of my ability until they required visiting caregivers around the clock.

I often felt terribly helpless because I had no clue what my parents were feeling, or what their symptoms were, dosages, or side effects from the medications they were taking. But I would still visit them, prepare meals, help around the house, play music, card games, share in laughter---what I COULD do, as a daughter. I miss my parents terribly still, but know that they're proud of me and the life I live.

I know what it's like to live on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for weeks at a time in order to get through college. Learning what local resources are available can be a big help. The DSHS can provide excellent assistance with food stamps and other public services.

I don't have any children of my own. One big reason, besides my choosing not to reproduce, is that I have struggled financially---even with a college degree---and wouldn't have the sufficient means to support dependents. Anyway--being an auntie for me is more fun.

KittenKoder: Thanks for including me in your list of non-idiots, although there are plenty of days when I feel clueless as hell.
Posted by auntie grizelda on September 12, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
41 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
KittenKoder 42
@40 I wasn't implying that all those who have families are idiots, just that being single and with no kids shows you are not one of the idiots who have families before they can support them. ;) Which you certainly seem to be one of the smart ones who thinks before they do something.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 13, 2011 at 1:37 AM · Report this
Eh, I refused to incorporate my business in Seattle. Screw y'all.

I knew when I opened, the busybodies would come up with some crap like this, I didn't know what, but I knew more was coming. Locating in the city of Seattle offers no advantages and a huge pile of dis-incentives for business. Screw y'all.

And the sweetheart deal for the unions? Typical. No surprise what-so-ever.
Posted by delbert on September 13, 2011 at 6:15 AM · Report this
Yeah, let's make it harder to run a business. That's exactly what Seattle needs. And I'd like to note that sure, "a worker could use the paid days off to care for a family member or deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking."

A worker could also use the paid day off to beat their wife, sexually abuse a child, or stalk someone.

Bottom line is: making it more expensive to run a business equals fewer jobs to be had.
Posted by captainFlex on September 13, 2011 at 6:52 AM · Report this
if the lady who works @ safeway needs a day off, to attend hospital for her sick daughter, that's not a sick day per say!
she gets unpaid time off, that's unfortunate that her manager is strict, but if you have a job to return to, with medical/health benefits, you shouldn't be able to claim a sick day, when it's her daughter who's actually sick!
Posted by colmcille on September 13, 2011 at 9:56 AM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 46
@9, I raise you one and say that if someone isn't paid enough to have something significant left over after food, shelter, medical care, and what one needs to be functional, then they are essentially slaves.
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on September 13, 2011 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Didn't read all the comments, but as a microbiologist, I think this law is great. Nine days a year just for sick leave (that most people won't take all of anyway) is just the right number to make sure that people with communicable diseases like colds and the flu STAY HOME when they are sick, but don't abuse the system. If someone with the flu comes into work (even if they can do the job sick), a majority of the time, they WILL infect someone else IN THE WORKPLACE. This leads to more absences and more man hours (and MONEY) lost than if the initial carrier was paid to stay home.
Posted by Ptera on September 13, 2011 at 2:26 PM · Report this
@19: Oh, boo hoo. I would play the world's smallest violin for those poor, burdened businesses, only I can't do that because I had to choose between paying my rent and taking a day to get over having the stomach flu.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on September 13, 2011 at 2:30 PM · Report this
@43: Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Or do. Whatever.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on September 13, 2011 at 2:34 PM · Report this
freikja 50
@ 34:
"The legislation is patronizing and infantalizing. Nobody should work somewhere where they they may not be sick and stay home for fear of being fired."

l'm wondering: how is this "infantilizing"? l agree with the last part quoted, but unfortunately, not everyone has the option of working at a place where the threat of termination isn't looming over their heads every time they fall ill, or a field/job where they can choose their own hours and increase or decrease their workload whenever they like based on how much they'd like to make.

@42: "I wasn't implying that all those who have families are idiots, just that being single and with no kids shows you are not one of the idiots who have families before they can support them."

Kittenkoder, the ignorance of this statement is astounding when made in a failing economy where regular folks -many of whom have families- are losing their jobs every day. l'm certain a number of those people didn't anticipate this economy when they had children, or thought they were safe because they had high work ethic and didn't expect to be included in any major layoffs, but hey, shit happens. You actually did imply that people with families were stupid with your first statement, then you backed it up with the one quoted above. Yes, there may be some families that choose to keep children they can't afford, but the majority you're referring to probably weren't prepared to be in dire straits, or dealt with unexpected and exorbitant expenses that depleted their savings, like a major (and possibly ongoing) illness in the family.

@47: "This leads to more absences and more man hours (and MONEY) lost than if the initial carrier was paid to stay home."

EXACTLY. This is a very simple, logical fact most of the naysayers don't understand, and l'm not sure how they don't. l worked in the restaurant industry for over ten years. Of course, nobody had sick leave, and because being shorthanded in a restaurant can ruin EVERYONE else's day, the threat of losing one's job due to illness was always extremely high. Most of those years l was working in Georgia, where servers were paid $2.13/hr because the assumption was that our tips would put us in minimum wage range, which was utter bullshit 90% of the time unless we worked weekends and busy shifts, and meant that most of us working in that industry showed up sick whether our employers were generous with sick days or not. We had numerous instances of illnesses making several rounds through the employee base before finally disappearing, and I can't even begin to imagine the number of customers we passed it on to, even if we weren't preparing the food.

l now do senior care, an environment where sick days are EXTREMELY important because we are working with people with already compromised immune systems, some of whom we could straight up kill if we came into work sick and happened to pass it on. A few days into the new year, l came down with some sort of utterly miserable bug that left me completely useless and with 103 degree fever for four days. Because l was so sick l couldn't get up and bus it to a doctor, l described my symptoms to my doctor brother-in-law, who prescribed me some antibiotics. l got better for a little under a week, then for whatever reason, it came back and put me out of commission for almost a week after that until l could get my ass to the doctor for a proper checkup. Work told me to just take some time off and let them know when l was better. Then they proceeded to deny me work for over two months, despite my providing a note from the doctor, and calling them repeatedly to let them know l was fine and in desperate need of income. l called into work sick for the first time since January a couple of weeks ago, after exemplary work performance and no sick days, and was informed that the next time l called in, it would be grounds for termination. l still have no idea how they justify terminating me for not showing up with an infection to care for a client who is already infirm to some degree or another, especially when at least a third of the time, we actually catch whatever illness the client might have at the time due to their compromised immune systems. lt's totally fucked.

This legislation would protect me and others in my field from shit like this, and provide us at least one of the benefits we have every right to in the first place.
Posted by freikja on September 13, 2011 at 6:32 PM · Report this
@42 KittenKoder: I agree with you. I wasn't meaning that people with families were idiots, either. I believe we're on the same path. I think that chiefly those who keep having unprotected sex (putting it in "just a little"?? Come on), have truckloads of kids they can't provide for, and then cry, "What happened??" are the idiots.

@50: I'm NOT calling you an idiot for having a family, already! You sound like a responsible person who's just fallen on hard times. A lot of us have. While I'm not in your position, I can still empathize.
Please refer to my above response to KittenKoder. Peace.
Posted by auntie grizelda on September 14, 2011 at 11:11 PM · Report this
freikja 52
@51: l never thought you were calling me an idiot - l was addressing KittenKoder; l have absolutely no beef with anything you've said here or elsewhere. l'm actually single (ish) with no kids, so l'm not one of the ones l'm describing, but they *are* out there, and KittenKoder's posts seem to ignore those people who were responsible about having families, and then fell on financial hard times either due to the recession, illness, both, or a number of other financial stressors. l agree that if someone gets pregnant and doesn't think it through and is unable to care for a child they are enormously irresponsible and selfish, but given the economy, most who are having trouble are regular citizens who weren't prepared for such an economic downturn.

So l wasn't referring to you at all, which is why l included the quote by KittenKoder. lt's all good.
Posted by freikja on September 17, 2011 at 1:55 PM · Report this
@52: No sweat; I hear you. I just thought there was a misunderstanding.
Posted by auntie grizelda on September 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM · Report this

Add a comment