DC Earned Sick Days, Testimony of David Deal, Community IT Innovators

TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF BILL 20-0480

Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013

TO: Councilmember Vincent B. Orange, Sr., Chair, Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs Councilmember Jack Evans, Chair Committee on Finance and Revenue

FROM: David Deal, CEO and Founder, Community IT Innovators

DATE: October 28, 2013

My name is David Deal. I am the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Community IT Innovators. Community IT Innovators is a D.C. firm that provides IT services to non-profits; we have been in continuous operation since 1993 and have been an independent company since 2001. We employ 37 staff and a number of contractors. The majority of our work is with organizations headquartered in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas.

I support Bill 20-0480, the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013. I also support Bill 20-459, the Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013. Both raising the minimum wage and providing all workers with earned sick days are important reforms that will improve the lives of working families in D.C. and will not negatively impact the competitiveness of D.C. businesses. I therefore urge the Committee to send one bill encompassing both the provisions of Bill 20-480 and Bill 20-459 to the whole Council.

As an employer, I have experience implementing D.C.’s sick days law. It has been easy to implement and has not been costly. In our experience, employees do not abuse sick days. On the contrary, providing our employees with benefits like paid sick days has made our business stronger, helping us to retain high quality employees and maintain a healthy workplace.

It makes sense for this law to apply to all workers in D.C., including tipped restaurant workers. Paid sick days are a basic workplace standard akin to the 40 hour work week and paid overtime. It is simply a matter of fairness – workers shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and their health. And customers should not have to worry that they are being served by sick employees. Workers also shouldn’t have to wait a whole year to use their sick days. Although this provision is in D.C.’s existing law, Community IT Innovators employees are able to begin using their sick days immediately upon employment. This makes sense for all employees, any of whom may become ill sometime during their first year of employment. It is particularly important for low-wage workers, who are concentrated in industries with high turnover. Under the current law, many may never become eligible for sick days at all.

Laws are only as strong as their enforcement mechanisms. In order to maximize the value of D.C.’s sick days law, it is important to take steps to improve employer compliance with the law. A recent audit of D.C.’s paid sick days law found that only 70 percent of businesses were offering workers sick days. The proposed amendments to the sick days law will improve employer compliance.

Additionally, to the extent all businesses are required to offer this basic benefit, it provides a level playing field on which all employers have to function. This is certainly true for restaurants, whose competition is primarily other D.C. restaurants.

As an employer and member of the community, I strongly urge the Committee to send a bill including both the provisions of the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 and those of the Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013 to the full Council.

 

Sincerely,

David Deal

CEO and Founder Community IT Innovators

Source: Center for Law and Social Policy