From The Drum Major Report Year in ReviewNo More Working While Sick
Caught that new flu bug that’s going around? If you’re one of the 50% of American workers without paid sick leave, you may be punching the clock anyway. And if you’re one of two-thirds who can’t take paid time off to care for an ill child, Junior may be heading off to school with a contagious disease. That is, unless you live in San Francisco, which this year became the first place in the country to mandate at least five days of paid sick leave for everyone employed within city limits. The measure permits employees to use the sick days to care for themselves, family members, or another person designated as dependent on their care. While businesses complain about the cost, the SF ordinance—approved by voter referendum—is expected to lower employee turnover, raise productivity with a healthier workforce, reduce the rate of workplace-related illness as fewer people go to work with contagious conditions, and allow illnesses to get treated before they become serious. Workers, meanwhile, will no longer face an impossible choice between health and employment. For giving everyone time to heal without losing a day’s pay, San Francisco’s sick leave is one of the best policies of 2007.