Randy George, owner of Red Hen Bakery, addressing a vermont Paid Sick Days rally in Middlesex. He emphasized that instituting a paid sick days policy has helped his business to grow. “I stand here today as a business owner who has learned firsthand that this is a pro-business piece of legislation,” he said. (Photo provided)
Montpelier Grassroots organizers of the Vermont Paid Sick Days campaign say the Green Mountain State is ready to make paid sick time for all a reality. Over 100 people rallied to support the campaign launch of Paid Sick Days 2014 in front of Middlesex's Red Hen Bakery, whose owners are speaking out on the benefits of paid sick time for Vermont’s small businesses. The new effort is to provide support for a paid sick day bill in the Vermont Legislature.
“Our families, our economy, and our public health all urgently need it,” said worker Desiree Roberts, of Monkton, who attended the rally.
Paid Sick Days 2014 is a campaign to pass legislation ensuring a minimum standard of paid sick time in Vermont.
Roberts is employed as a service worker. She has worked without paid sick time her entire adult career.
“We have a duty to care for the members of our society. All of them,” Roberts said. “It is not anyone’s fault when they get sick, or have a child that is ill, or an elderly parent. These are all parts of being human, and we don’t seem to be making any allowances for the fact that we are human. Paid sick days are an important step forward toward a state where all workers have their human rights met.”
The Vermont Paid Sick Days Coalition holds that paid sick time will be good for all in Vermont—from workers, children, and families to the local economy and public health.
At the launch, the Paid Sick Days Coalition released the results of a poll conducted Anzalone Liszt Grove Research showing nearly three-quarters of the electorate supports the bill (72 percent favor) and just 23 percent oppose it.
“Voters made it clear that this is an issue whose time has come,” said Carlen Finn of Voices for Vermont’s Children.
Finn remarked that paid sick days will create positive ripple effects for all people in Vermont, particularly families and children.
“Everyone wants what’s best for their children,” said Finn. “But without paid sick days, parents are forced to choose between financial stability and caring for their loved ones.”
Almost 40 percent of Vermont’s private sector workers do not have any paid sick time.
The Vermont Paid Sick Days Bill would ensure that all workers could take paid time off from work to care for their own health and safety needs as well as those of their families.