Children — 22% of our population, 100% of our future
Campaign 2010: Paid Sick Days for Vermont
“Hard working Vermonters shouldn’t have to choose between being healthy and getting a paycheck,” said Colin Robinson of the Vermont Paid Sick Days Coalition at a press conference on May 27. The Coalition — which is led by Voices for Vermont’s Children and the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign and also includes labor and advocates for women and young children — released the results of a new poll that found Vermont voters think the Legislature should establish a paid sick time workplace standard. The Coalition also launched “Campaign 2010,” a statewide outreach and organizing effort with the goal of getting legislation passed in the 2010 session.
Dan Barlow covered the event for the Times Argus:
Rep. Paul Poirier, I-Barre City, sponsored a bill that would have workers earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours of work each week they perform – with a total annual cap of 56 hours of paid sick time, or about seven days.
He said this issue is particularly important for low-income workers, especially single mothers, who might need to choose between caring for their sick children and their job. Sending sick kids to school only spreads the cold around to other children, he said.
“It’s a basic human right to care for your children and to care for a sick person in your family,” Poirier said.
Read the rest of the article here. The Burlington Free Press, the Brattleboro Reformer, VPR, WDEV, WCAX, and WPTZ also carried an AP version of the story.
The Vermont Paid Sick Days Coalition commissioned the Center for Rural Studies at UVM to conduct a statewide telephone survey on paid sick days. Registered voters were asked about their support of a paid sick days standard for all working Vermonters and the prospect of legislation in Vermont. Both employees and employers were represented. The survey found that:
More than three-quarters of Vermonters want the Legislature to create a workplace standard. This overwhelming support cuts across the political spectrum: 69% of Republicans, 75% of Independents, and 87% of Democrats.
71% of employers and self-employed support legislation.
51% of workers making under $25,000 and 43.9% of part-time workers do not have any paid sick days. Low-wage and under-employed workers are the least able to lose pay when sick, but they are the most likely to be without paid sick time.
Employees would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours each year.
Employees could use their paid sick time to: recover from or receive treatment for illness or injury; care for a family member; obtain diagnostic, routine, preventive or therapeutic health care; take necessary steps for their safety as a result of sexual abuse, domestic violence or stalking.
At their discretion, employers would be able to “loan” an employee paid sick time if the employee got sick before accruing time.
Employees would not be able to “cash out” any unused hours if they left their job.
All employers already offering equal or more generous paid sick time would be unaffected.
Vermont Paid Sick Days Coalition
Vermont Livable Wage Campaign – Peace and Justice Center • Kids Are Priority One Coalition • Vermont Commission on Women • Working Vermont – The Coalition of Vermont Labor Unions • VT AFL-CIO • United Professions of Vermont/AFT • Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence • Green Mountain Chapter – Older Women’s League • Vermont Workers’ Center • Voices for Vermont’s Children
Spotlight on Vermont’s Kids
Spotlight on Vermont’s Kids is about the needs of our children and finding ways to meet those needs, the challenges they face, the opportunities we have to support and nurture them, and how their wellbeing is important to us all. Continuing to invest in our children’s wellbeing is more important than ever in these difficult economic times. That is our surest route to the best possible future for them and our state.