The Drive to Ban Mandated Paid Sick Days (May 6, 2014)

By Amy B. Dean, Al Jazeera America

On March 20, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed a bill expanding the city’s paid-sick-day law, giving an additional 500,000 workers the right to take up to five sick days in a year to care for themselves or sick family members without losing pay. Other cities — including Seattle; Washington; Portland, Oregon; Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey; and San Francisco — have passed similar mandates (as has the state of Connecticut), creating a benefit that voters support and employees need and that many employers say is economically sustainable. In places without such laws, an estimated 40 percent of the workforce has no paid sick days, meaning that restaurant servers and retail employees often have little economic choice but to work sick, even if that means risking infecting customers and co-workers.