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March 8, 2018
To the Westchester Board of Legislators:
As members of the Westchester community, including advocacy, labor, and religious groups, we are writing to urge you to pass a robust employee earned sick time policy for Westchester’s workers.
36% of Westchester workers currently do not have earned sick time. This means thousands of people come to work sick, send their children to school sick, and ultimately increase the chances of getting us all sick. In 2018, we can change that by passing the bill you introduced, which would allow individuals who work in businesses with 5 or more employees to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 they work and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. New York City has already passed a similar law and has seen many benefits to workers, employers and the community, and no significant changes to business practices or employee abuse of the policy.
For the full benefit of the law to be felt in Westchester County it is vital that we cover as many workers as possible by requiring businesses with 5 or more employees to offer paid sick leave. If smaller companies are carved out, thousands of workers will be left behind, and low-wage earners will be disproportionately affected. For example, a carve out of businesses with 5 to 9 employees would leave an estimated 12,200 workers without access to paid sick time off and diminish the impact of the policy on our communities’ health and livelihood.
Of the localities across the country that have already passed earned sick time policies, none have implemented a carve out this large; in fact, an overwhelming majority of localities – 27 out of 32 — have no carve out at all, meaning all workers have the ability to take paid time off if they are sick, no matter how small or large their company is. For example, Montgomery County in Maryland, which is comparable in size to Westchester, passed a strong earned sick time policy with no business size carve out; moreover, the County requires all businesses with 5 or more workers to provide up to 56 hours of paid sick time a year – 16 hours more than the standard offered in the Westchester bill.
The experiences of localities with paid sick time policies show that this common standard has been a success. The policy is not only good for workers and their families, but also good for public health, reducing the risk of infection spreading, and good for business, thanks to increased productivity and reduced employee turnover.
Westchester County can take the lead in New York State and be the first jurisdiction outside of NYC to offer this crucial benefit. We urge you to consider these facts when deliberating the bill’s core provisions, and not to leave thousands of workers behind.
Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) 9169
Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1103
Congregation B’nai Yisrael
Encephalitis Global, Inc,
Ethical Culture Society of Westchester
Local 1 International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC)
Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network (LHVPAN)
Mamaroneck High School Young Democrats
New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)
Safe Energy Rights Group, Inc.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ
Southern Westchester Action Committee – SWAC PAC
Sustainable Port Chester Alliance
Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100
Westchester for Change
Westchester National Organization for Women (NOW)
Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body
Westchester-Putnam Working Families Party