The hard work of the activists at The Campaign for a Healthy Denver has paid off -- the Denver City Clerk ruled Monday that a paid-sick-leave initiative will appear on the November ballot, according to Fox31.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has released an ad urging voters not to pass Initiative 300, the paid sick leave ballot initiative. The city estimates it would cost Denver $700,000 annually. The initiative's supporters, however, contend the costs would be far less and would be offset by increased worker productivity.
In order to qualify for the ballot, advocates for paid sick days in Denver needed to gather 3,973 signatures and they wound up with nearly double that. The clerk and recorder certified 7,248 petition signatures, The Denver Post reports.
Campaign for a Healthy Denver, a coalition of more than 50 community organizations, labor groups, faith leaders, elected officials and more that were seeking a ballot initiative to protect public health by guaranteeing a basic standard of paid sick days for all employees in Denver workplaces of all sizes.
The Huffington Post reported in July that the paid sick days activists had been staging protests around Denver at Starbucks and Jimmy John’s claiming both organizations do not provide paid sick days for their employees.
In a press release, Kyle Legleiter, President of the Colorado Public Health Association said this about the ballot initiative:
The paid sick and safe time ballot initiative protects the public's health. Most of the workers who will earn paid sick and safe time for the first time are lower-wage workers who may expose the public to illnesses in restaurants, childcare centers and medical caregiving, all because they simply cannot afford to miss a day’s pay.
A recent study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that access to paid sick days in Denver, for private sector workers 18 years and older, varied widely based on ethnicity and race, with Latinos and African Americans lacking paid sick days at significantly higher rates. Most of the jobs without paid sick time are in service industries like restaurants, childcare, home healthcare and construction, where workers have a great deal of interaction with public. Read more about their findings here.
Ruthie Roberts Johnson of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute said recently to Progressive Promotions:
Lack of paid sick days is a serious problem for 100,000 employees in Denver, but this data shows that the problem is even greater in the African American community. No employee wants to have to make the choice to come into work sick, possibly making their co-workers and others sick, too. It's an economic reality that virtually all of these workers need every day's pay to make ends meet. A paid sick and safe days policy will make sure workers can take the time to get well and maintain their economic security.
Cities like San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have already enacted paid sick leave laws and Connecticut became the first state to adopt paid sick leave into law.