Yesterday, Council held a second public hearing about the earned sick leave proposal introduced by Commissioner Fritz in January.
Thanks to everyone for all the input I’ve received so far about the proposal. I also commend the work of the task force chaired by Commissioners Fritz and Saltzman. With help from the task force, business owners, employees, and others, I believe we've made some important technical changes that will limit the administrative burden for businesses while ensuring that workers are protected. It's time for the Council to act and ensure workers have the opportunity to earn sick days.
About 60% of Portland employers already offer paid leave to their employees, but for the other 40% of workers, catching the flu means deciding between working sick or foregoing pay to stay home. And those decisions are even harder for parents who must decide whether to stay home with a sick child.
During the public testimony yesterday, we heard stories from many people who have been forced to make these very difficult decisions. One person whose story stands out for me is Ian Rizzio, a PSU student working at a sandwich shop to make ends meet who got fired because he was sick at work. I encourage you to read his full testimony here.
Ian’s story is just one example of why the earned sick leave proposal is so important. Ensuring that workers can accrue and take sick days will help stop the spread of illnesses and add an important worker protection to those already in place. I look forward to voting for this common sense proposal.