The quest for balance between work and family has been a struggle since the dawn of work and family. All too few of us are out taking action on the issues that cause real change and matter to families. Recently, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Dina Bakst, the Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance, “a legal team fighting to give American workers the time and flexibility they need to care for their families.” Rather than waiting for the President, the Congress, or any other politician to act, A Better Balance is leading the charge on policies that help families, such as paid sick leave, flex time, and pay equity.
Currently, A Better Balance is working on bringing paid sick leave to workers in New York City, so I decided to get more informed about the issue. Several sources estimate that over 1 million working New Yorkers, including 39% of public school parents, have no paid sick days to care for themselves, or their sick children. So, as we enter cold and flu season, a huge number of parents choose to send their sick kids to school rather than lose a day’s pay, or risk losing their jobs.
The New York City Council is considering the Paid Sick Leave Act, legislation that would require employers to let employees earn annual paid sick time; 9 days for larger businesses, and 5 days for smaller businesses. Opponents, primarily from the business community, suggest that mandatory paid sick leave has a negative impact on businesses that are already struggling through the recession and suggest government shouldn’t be dictating business policies. Proponents cite many studies that suggest mandatory paid sick leave has concrete benefits for business. The Speaker of the New York City Council, Christine Quinn, has tabled the vote until she sees the results of a business impact study being conducted by the Partnership for New York City in conjunction with Ernst & Young. San Francisco and Washington D.C. city councils have passed similar measures, and proponents suggest there has been no negative impact to businesses.
If you support the Paid Sick Leave Act, A Better Balance is urging you to take action by raising awareness about flu season and the health of our kids. They, along with several other organizations, have organized a rally to build support for the Paid Sick Leave Act at City Hall on Wednesday, September 29, 2010, at 4:30pm.
You can also send a letter the New York City Council by clicking here or you can call New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s at 212-788-7210 to register your opinion.
If you’d like to learn more about the issue, read more in the New York Times, The Huffington Post, and the New York Observer.
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