As paid sick leave laws continue to gain traction across the United States, a recent report finds such policies to be a win-win for workers and their employers.
For its report, the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) examined over a dozen scholarly and policy research articles covering the health, economic and social benefits of paid sick time.
"Seeing the research brought together, from a range of disciplines, makes a striking case for universal access to paid sick days as a low-cost strategy for improving health and economic well-being," IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault said in a statement.
Nearly 100 fast food workers and community activists picketed outside the McDonald's restaurant adjacent to the Chicago Board of Trade to show solidarity with workers in New York who are testifying at the last wage board hearing called by the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, to recommend an increase to the minimum wage.
The demonstrators also called on Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to put a stop to proposed state budget cuts that would impact home and child care workers.
Holding signs that read "New York, Chicago has your back" and "We need raises, not cuts," demonstrators spoke passionately about how a wage increase to $15 an hour would improve their lives -- and how Rauner's proposed budget cuts could harm working families.
Chicago voters might have an opportunity during the February municipal election to weigh in on a non-binding ballot referendum about paid sick leave for workers in the city.
The council's Rules Committee passed a resolution at its Tuesday meeting calling for an advisory ballot question on whether employers in Chicago should be required to provide their employees with paid leave in the event of an "illness or public health emergency." The full council could consider the proposal at its meeting this Wednesday.
Chicago Ald. Joe Moore (49th), one of the sponsors of the referendum resolution, discussed the measure at a forum on paid sick leave and other pro-worker initiatives held this morning at Roosevelt University.
"It's a great organizing tool for those who support paid sick leave," Moore said of the pending citywide referendum, also sponsored by Alds. Joe Moreno (1st) and Will Burns (4th). Moore said he is confident the measure will pass through the full council tomorrow.
Chicagoans in favor of making earned paid sick days a requirement for private employers in the Windy City delivered 25,000 petition signatures to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office on Thursday in support of the policy.
In March, Alds. Joe Moreno (1st) and Toni Foulkes (15th) introduced an ordinance — backed by the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition and most of the council's 50 aldermen — that looks to ensure all workers in the city currently without paid sick leave are able to take time off to care for their own illnesses, a sick family member or attend medical appointments. Twenty-four other aldermen have co-sponsored the measure, which is pending in the council's Committee on Workforce Development and Audit.
"We need to get this passed now because it's about time," said Melissa Josephs, director of equal opportunity policy at Women Employed. "Forty-two percent of city [private sector] workers, almost half a million, don't have any sick time ... That's why we're dropping off these signatures now to let the mayor know there's a need."