Issued and announced in an address delivered on Labor Day, President Obama executed another key piece of his agenda to support working families― an Executive Order granting federal contractors the ability to earn paid sick leave. By ensuring that federal contractors can earn up to 7 days of paid leave annually to care for themselves or family members, the administration seeks to, “Increase efficiency and cost savings in the work performed by parties that contract with the federal government.”
Increased efficiency and cost savings are among the reasons the members of the Main Street Alliance have supported local earned sick leave measures across the country and support the Healthy Families Act―national legislation aimed to make earned sick leave the national standard.
The Executive Order and President Obama’s remarks regarding its contents capture very simple and straight-forward principles that our members have championed for years, namely that inefficiencies in workflow and the cost of lost productivity are alleviated when workers are unencumbered by a health issue or that of a loved one.
Efficiency and productivity are of the utmost importance to both employer and worker and are fundamentally affected when an illness forces someone to go to work through fear of lost income, or worse, through fear of losing their job altogether.
Despite more obvious reasons for providing paid sick leave, i.e. hazards to the public involving communicable diseases, small business owners enjoy the benefits of a healthy and efficient workforce that knows their employer stands by them during their time of need. This trust and mutual appreciation between employees and ownership reduces turnover and effectively reduces cost of employee acquisition and development.
This action builds upon a middle class and working family economic agenda propounded in the State of the Union address almost 9 months ago. To the 114th Congress, the final of his term, the President lamented over our nation’s shortfalls regarding basic workplace policies that are overwhelmingly accepted by other industrialized nations. “We are the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave...and that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.”
The members of the Main Street Alliance applaud the President for his bold decision and hope this action sets the example for private businesses across the nation. Our members will continue lending support to the passage of the Healthy Families Act and will remain a strong voice for cost saving business policies and worker friendly legislation, as evident in the quotes provided below.
“As a CEO and mother, I believe that we need to change norms in corporate America to enable working parents to succeed, both in the workplace and at home. This begins with paid sick days – no parent should be forced to work while their child is sick or injured. When parents get the time they need to help a child get well they come back to work as more loyal and productive employees. That’s why I support the Healthy Families Act, federal legislation that would help small businesses like mine to offer paid sick days. We offer paid sick days anyway, but not all small businesses can do it without support. It’s good for business and for workers – and it may help to spur the culture change that is so needed in our workplaces.”―Sabrina Parsons, CEO Palo Alto Software, Eugene, Oregon
“In a civilized society workers should not be penalized for taking time off from their jobs to care for themselves and their families. Allowing employees to earn paid sick days insures the health and welfare of our workforce and instills loyalty and a sense of personal well-being that will translate to a stronger bottom line for business. The Healthy Families Act makes sense for employers and employees.”―Melinda Moulton, CEO Main Street Landing, Burlington, Vermont
“I know a thing or two about a healthy business, and I make my living teaching businesses how to do better. Offering earned sick time for your employees will make your employees’ and customers’ experiences better, and your business will do better. The Healthy Families Act will make better business practices the standard nationwide.”―Ricardo McQueen, President of Food Health and Environmental Safety, Orlando, Florida
"When you stop being scared of the math, and do the math, paid sick days become more attainable to small businesses. This is especially true for the Healthy Families Act, which would make paid sick days the standard nationwide and level the playing field between businesses that allow their workers to earn paid time off and those that don't."―Molly Moon Neitzel, Owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Seattle, Washington