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"This is a broad-based response to what we've seen as growing momentum over the last months and years in support of public policies that address these critical issues for families," said Vicki Shabo, vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families, one of the many organizations behind the #WEmatter campaign. "We're optimistic that this is going to cause public officials and traditional media to sit up and take notice, and that's a critical first step in bringing the policy changes that we need."
Nationwide, the National Partnership for Women & Families reports that adults without paid sick leave are 1.5 times more likely than workers with paid sick leave to go to work with a contagious disease.
“Knowing the lay of the land can provide parents with reassurance and confidence at what can be a stressful time of year,” says Vicki Shabo, vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families. “All parents know that there are times when missing work is unavoidable, so knowing whether [they] have paid sick, vacation or personal time to use, and understanding employers’ rules about providing notice for using that time, is also important.”
The fight for paid sick leave requirements has picked up steam since San Francisco passed the nation’s first local paid sick leave policy in 2006. D.C. followed suit two years later, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
However, testimony from Kevin Trapani, CEO and president of The Redwoods Group, and Maryella Gockel, flexibility leader at Ernst & Young LLP, demonstrates that such worries are misguided. Indeed, for these employers, as well as for businesses in the states that have passed paid family leave insurance laws (California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey), there has been no evidence of what witness Vicki Shabo of the National Partnership for Women & Families called the “parade of horribles”—a litany of negative business implications predicted by critics.
But that was the culmination of a difficult, nearly nine-year fight. “In the early 80s, when it was first introduced, nobody was even uttering the words work/family policy or work/life balance,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, which played a big role in crafting the FMLA.
If the bills become law, it would mean that more than 300,000 additional workers gain the right to take up to five paid sick days a year, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
The idea that women should get paid leave when they have babies started to crop up around World War I and again around World War II. Countries' populations had been decimated, which meant there was a high premium on women as economic contributors and childbearers, explains Vicki Shabo, vice president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. She says that in the United States, in part due to fewer casualties and the fact that men returned to the labor force, there weren't the same incentives to offer women paid maternity leave.
Worker rights groups and others are campaigning for an expansion of paid sick leave rights in the private sector. So far, mandates on paid sick days have primarily been taken up by local governments, with San Francisco in 2006 becoming the first U.S. city to require it, according to the Washington-based National Partnership for Women and Families.
"Servers in restaurants and home health workers are the least likely to have paid sick time and the most likely to have contact with the public," says Vicki Shabo, vice president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.
Eleven states have enacted paid-sick-day pre-emption laws since 2011. New research from the National Partnership for Women and Families shows that six more states are considering kill-shot bills. The NPWF has found that some of these bills have even more extreme consequences than just banning paid-sick-day requirements...
Guaranteed paid leave reinforces “the idea of caregiving and taking care of oneself as a value and a norm, standardized across gender,” Vicki Shabo, director of work and family programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families, added.
“When families can't afford the basics, local businesses lose sales,“ said Vicki Shabo of the National Partnership for Women & Families.
“Business owners play a key role in confirming that family-friendly workplace policies like paid sick days and paid family and medical leave are win-win for employees and employers,” Vicki Shabo, director of work and family programs at the National Partnership, told RH Reality Check.
Concerns over what paid sick leave could mean for small businesses owners have led to what Vicki Shabo, director of work and family programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families, calls a “counter trend” — legislatures enacting laws against paid sick leave before support for the measure can take hold.
A handful of states are passing laws requiring employers to offer paid sick leave for employees. It's been a hotly debated topic in recent years with a number of factors playing a role. Vicki Shabo is the Vice President of the National Partnership for Women and Families and she tells Tim Muma why employees need to be given the benefit of paid time off for illnesss.
Almost 40 million U.S. workers lack paid sick leave, the National Partnership for Women & Families notes. Its report found that almost one-quarter of adults have either lost a job or been threatened with firing for taking time off to deal with an illness or a sick dependent.
“This is a reflection of the strong recognition across the country, across region, across class, race, and gender, that something needs to change,” said Vicki Shabo, director of the work and family programs at the National Partnership.
The push for sick-leave legislation began in San Francisco, where a group of restaurant workers organized support for a measure that was put on the ballot in November 2006, and won with 61 percent of the vote, said Vicki Shabo, director of work and family programs for the National Partnership for Women and Families, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.
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