TACOMA, Wash. - A citizens coalition is working to push the City of
Tacoma to become the fourth in the nation to adopt a paid sick day law.
The Healthy Tacoma Coalition will hold a roundtable meeting today to
hear from the community and to discuss what they say are the benefits to
public health and business of allowing workers in all businesses to
earn paid time off in the event of illness.
Marilyn Watkins, policy director for the Economic Opportunity
Institute in Seattle, says four out of 10 workers in Washington
State have no paid time off if they call in sick.
"If they stay home, they lose that day's pay, and oftentimes they also
get disciplined in the workplace for calling in sick. So, that's
something that we want to change."
Opponents argue requiring companies to provide paid sick days could
results in job losses, especially during a recession, but Watkins says
that is not what happened in San Francisco, one of the three cities
requiring sick pay.
"Customers are happier because of it. They get better service; they're
not afraid of getting sick themselves; and so it's something that
actually increases profitability for businesses."
Currently, only San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Milwaukee have laws
requiring paid sick days. Proponents are focusing on the service
industry, including restaurants, which generally offer no sick day pay.
After the law passed in San Francisco, the restaurant sector reportedly
weathered the downturn in the economy better than restaurants in
surrounding counties that did not offer paid sick days.
The Community Roundtable takes place at Kings Books on Saint Helens
Avenue and starts at 11:00 a.m.