Orange County’s Earned Sick Time Initiative

Q / A

Q.  Why does Orange County need Earned Sick Time?

A.  Earned Sick Time will make Orange County a healthier place to live. 

Too many Orange County workers, many of them low-wage workers with significant interaction with the public, cannot earn any sick time.  In this tough economy, more and more workers are forced to go into work sick rather than risk losing their job or wages and that puts everyone’s health at risk.  

Providing Earned Sick Time will ensure Orange County workers do not have to make the impossible choice between the work they need and family they love.  Ensuring that everyone can take sick time will allow workers to stay home when they’re sick, reducing the spread of illness, without risking their financial security.

Q.  Opponents say Earned Sick Time will hurt small businesses and make Orange County less competitive.   In this economy, can we afford the risk?

A.  Earned Sick Time will cost small business owners in Orange County NOTHING.  Businesses with fewer than 15 employees are not required to offer Earned Sick Time; they will simply be prohibited from firing workers for taking a limited amount of sick time. Nevertheless, many small business owners support Earned Sick Time because they know what’s good for their workers is good for their customers and their bottom lines. 

In response to concerns about small business, this proposal does not require businesses with fewer than 15 workers to pay workers when they are out sick.  However, it does ensure that no worker can be fired in Orange County for taking up to 56 hours of sick time, a requirement that will not cost small businesses any money but will offer job security to workers in these hard times if they or a family member gets sick.

Furthermore, the truth is that Earned Sick Time is good for business.  Lobbyists for big corporations always claim the sky will fall if workers receive Earned Sick Time.  But real life experience and independent studies have refuted these claims, showing Earned Sick Time not only benefits workers and their families, but also helps businesses and the economy.

By improving productivity and reducing turnover, Earned Sick Time saves businesses nearly $600-per-year for each full-time worker with earned sick time.

Economists say job retention policies like Earned Sick Time helps reduce unemployment and strengthen the economy.  And in San Francisco, which was rated one of the best cities in the world to do business, and whose earned sick time law applies to everyone, more than two in three businesses support the local law and six in seven report no negative impact on profitability.

Q.  Won’t this will make Orange County less competitive?  Won’t businesses just move out rather than deal with the Earned Sick Time mandate?

A.  Many business owners support Earned Sick Time because they know what’s good for their workers is good for their customers and their bottom lines. 

Business owners, like Jennifer Piallat, a restaurateur from San Francisco, who was concerned about the earned sick time law now report the positive impact of the law.  Two in three business owners, like Piallat, say they support the city’s earned sick time law, and six in seven say it has had no impact on profitability.

Q.  What is the Earned Sick Time initiative proposing?

A.  The Earned Sick Time initiative would ensure that workers in larger businesses (those with 15 or more employees) will be able to earn sick time off (up to 56 hours) so they can afford to take care of themselves and their family when they are sick or need medical care.   The ordinance protects workers in small businesses by providing that they can’t be fired for taking up to 56 hours of sick time for themselves or a family member, but those smaller businesses with fewer than 15 workers will not have to pay workers when they are sick.

For more information on the campaign, please visit www.EarnedSickTime.com.

Pd. Pol. Adv. Paid for by Citizens for a Greater Orange County

P.O. Box 533473, Orange County, FL 32853

Earned Sick Time Initiative: Q & A
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