Looks like it’s going to be a great year!
Danielle Atkinson of Mothering Justice joined OKT staff members and spokesperson, board member Anita Moore, to share the rationale of paid sick days with local media. Moore was also acting on behalf of Black Lives Matter-GR. Representatives from WOOD TV-8 and WGVU were among media attending. The press conference also launched a strategic relationship between OKT, Black Lives Matter-GR and Mothering Justice. OKT looks forward to continuing to address policy issues with these two organizations. You can review the Michigan House Paid Sick Days Bill 4167 here.
Paid Sick Days: The Facts
- 3 million emergency room visits could be prevented each year in the United States, saving $1.1 billion annually. 1
- Sick workers who are not working at full productivity is estimated to cost employers $160 billion per year — twice as much as the cost of absenteeism due to illness. 2
- This past election, Massachusetts, Oakland, Calif. and two cities in New Jersey — Montclair and Trenton, passed paid sick day proposals. 3
- More than 1.5 million Michigan workers — about 46 percent of the state’s private sector workforce — are not able to take a paid sick day when they are ill. 4
- Only 19 percent of workers in the lowest tenth of wage earners have paid sick days. 5
- A study of the restaurant industry showed that nearly two-thirds of cooks and servers reported cooking or serving food while sick. 6
- Parents without paid sick days are more than twice as likely as parents with paid sick days to send a sick child to school or day care (28 percent vs. 13 percent). 7
- There are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave. For companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the law only requires unpaid sick leave .8
- In a recent poll, 57 percent of respondents, including 79 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans, said it was “very important” for lawmakers to consider new laws to help keep working families economically secure, including ensuring workers the right to earn paid sick days. 9
- More than half of working mothers (54 percent) do not have paid sick days they can use to care for their sick children. 10
1 Miller, K., Williams, C., & Yi, Y. (2011, October 31). Paid Sick Days and Health: Cost Savings from Reduced Emergency Department Visits.Institute for Women’s Policy Research publication. Retrieved 10 October 2012, from http://www.iwpr.org/publications/ pubs/paid-sick-days-and-health-cost-savings-from-reduced-emergency-department-visits 2 Stewart, W., et al. (2003, December). Lost Productive Health Time Costs from Health Conditions in the United States: Results from the American Productivity Audit. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 45(12), 1234-1246. Retrieved 10 October 2012, fromhttp://www.workhealth.org/whatsnew/whnewrap/Stewart%20etal_lost%20productive%20work%20time%20costs%20health%20conditions%20in%20the%20US_%20Results%20from%20the%20American%20Productivity%20Audit%202003.pdf 3 National Partnership for Women & Families Press Release (November 2014) http://www.nationalpartnership.org/news-room/press-releases/massachusetts-voters-approve-nations-third-paid-sick-days-law.html 4 Williams, C. et al. (2010). Access to Paid Sick Days in the States, 2010. Institute for Women’s Policy Research publication. Retrieved 17May 2012, from http://www.iwpr.org/publications/pubs/access-to-paid-sick-days-in-the-states-2010 5 National Partnership for Women & Families Press Release (November 2014) http://www.nationalpartnership.org/news-room/press-releases/massachusetts-voters-approve-nations-third-paid-sick-days-law.html 6 See footnote #5 7 http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/psd/paid-sick-days-improve-our-public-health.pdf 8 http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/workhours/sickleave.htm 9 http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/lake-research-and-tarrance-group-2014-midterm-election-omnibus-poll-results.pdf 10 http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/psd/working-women-need-paid-sick-days.pdf
On Monday, along with several other organizations from across the state, Our Kitchen Table will hold a press conference to support the Michigan’s Paid Sick Days campaign in conjunction with Mothering Justice and Progress Michigan.
The campaign specifically addresses Michigan workers’ need for paid sick days. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, more than 1.5 million Michigan workers — about 46 percent of the state’s private-sector workforce — are not allowed to take a paid sick day when they are ill.
Legislation was introduced earlier this month in both the State House and Senate. The organizations represented at the press conference are among those fighting for this basic worker right. Our Kitchen Table sees this issue as directly connected to its work with Food Justice, since the lack of paid sick days impacts the health of working class families and their ability to resist poverty. OKT has written about how workers within the food system are some of the lowest paid in the country.
Our Kitchen Table joins this fight as one more step in the battle for worker rights and economic justice. We know that standing in solidarity with others fighting for justice is essential, as laid out in our principles of Food Justice, where we state that need for an intersectional analysis of all justice issues.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted, “no one is free while others are oppressed.”
On January 22, OKT executive director Lisa Oliver-King was Coach TMB’s featured guest on the In Life Now blog-radio talk show. Listen to the archived program here.