Small Business Owners Champion Paid Sick Policy
Release Report Making Business Case for Earned Paid Sick Days
Today small business owners from across Maine converged in Augusta to call on the state legislature to pass legislation allowing employees to earn paid sick days. They released a report from the Maine Small Business Coalition and the Main Street Alliance that analyzes the impact of earned paid sick days on small businesses.
They also presented a list of over 180 small businesses from 78 cities and towns and all sixteen counties that have publicly endorsed L.D. 369, state Senator Rebecca Millett's earned paid sick days proposal.
"Small-business owners across Maine know first-hand that providing paid sick days is not only the right thing to do, it is a smart business decision. In an economy with low unemployment, employees are much more likely to leave if they don't feel valued," said Mary Callahan, owner of Kimball Street Studios in Lewiston. "Turnover is costly, and studies show that offering earned paid sick time can reduce turnover by 50 percent. We offer paid sick days because it is good for business."
The report analyzes the impact of paid sick policies on jurisdictions that have already enacted earned paid sick days legislation. In these cities and states, there was increased business creation and job growth, zero negative impact on small businesses, and increased support for the policies after they were implemented, even among one-time opponents of paid sick days. The Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, a group that once opposed paid sick days saw the positive impact it had on the restaurant industry and said "paid sick days is the best public policy for the least cost."
The report also highlights the benefits to businesses of allowing employees to earn paid sick days, including increased productivity, decreased turnover, fewer hospitalizations, and lower health care costs. It also helps to narrow the wage gap between women and men, since under the current system women disproportionately have to take an unpaid day of work to care for a sick child.
'When we started our businesses it was important to us to establish and maintain ethical work practices with our employees. Paid sick time is one of those no brainers," said Gale White, who owns Lubec Brewing Company in Washington County with his wife, McGinley Jones. "We found out that prior to working for us, many employees often had to choose between coming to work sick so they could meet their financial obligations or worse, risk losing their job. That is why we are here today. No one should ever be put in a position to choose between coming to work sick or losing their job."
Last Wednesday the State Senate's Labor and Housing Committee voted to send Senator Millett's earned paid sick days legislation to the full House and Senate and a vote is imminent.
"Lobbyists serving large corporations have made a series of false claims about what's best for small businesses," said Adam Zuckerman, the director of the Maine Small Business Coalition. "Why not listen to over 180 actual small business owners from all across the state who are supporting a policy that is statistically proven to support small businesses and our economy."