Letter to the Editor by Katie Stebbins
Springfield Sunday Republican, 3/25/2011
I was troubled by a letter to the editor criticizing Springfield state Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera’s Viewpoint calling for passage of a paid sick-time bill. (“Paid sick time needs to be Mass. right,” March 11).
While I sympathize with the challenges faced by small businesses, there is a complicated balance between work and life that families are expected to strike on a daily basis.
This bill will benefit employees and employers across the commonwealth. Employees will earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours of work, small businesses employing fewer than six people only need to provide unpaid, job-protected sick time, and seasonal employees are exempt. This bill is about humanity. It is about protecting employees and saving the commonwealth money while respecting the rights of employers. Right now, nearly one million Massachusetts workers lack a single guaranteed paid sick day to care for themselves or a sick child or family member.
That means some workers have to choose between being a good parent or risk losing their jobs anytime they need to take a day off due to an illness. What motivation does a single mother have to be in the work force when faced with such a decision. Older children are being kept home from school to care for younger siblings. These are the choices that fuel urban poverty.
San Francisco, where this legislation has been in effect for years, was recently voted one of the best cities in the world to do business and has not seen any of the disadvantages that the opposition to this bill is predicting.
In Massachusetts, earned paid sick time will save taxpayers money by keeping low-wage workers employed and off of public assistance. Healthy workers are more productive and if employees can visit their primary doctor during the day instead of an emergency room visit after hours, the commonwealth will save big in health care cost. The recession means that working families and employers are all struggling. This bill will be part of the solution for both. Job protection should be a right, not a privilege.
This bill aims to even the playing field so even the lower wage workers have a chance to earn paid sick days to care for themselves and their families.
– KATIE STEBBINS, Springfield
Retrieved from MassLive.com