Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Than Seven in Ten Voters Support Paid Sick Days

Nearly Two-Thirds of Voters More Likely to Back Councilpersons Who Support Bill
(Read the polling data here)

PHILADELPHIA – As City Council considers a bill that would ensure Philadelphia workers are able to earn sick days, a new poll finds an overwhelming majority of voters in the May 17 Primary election strongly support the legislation and are more likely to back elected officials who support it as well.

“It’s no surprise that Philadelphia voters strongly support a bill that will protect public health, help working families and strengthen the city’s economy,” said Ricardo Valadez, Campaign Manager for the over 90 organization member Philadelphia Campaign for Earned Sick Days. “Philadelphians understand workers should not have to make a choice between their health and their income. No one should have choose between being a good employee and a good parent. It’s time for City Council to call this bill for a vote.”

Major findings from the poll include:

  • Seventy-one percent of Philadelphians who voted in the May 17 primary support earned sick days legislation, and only 24 percent oppose the measure.
  • The measure enjoys bi-partisan support. 64% of registered Republicans and 72% of registered Democrats support the bill.
  • A majority of voters agree the measure would be good for Philadelphia businesses. When given a choice between two statements, 64% agreed that “this proposal is good for Philadelphia businesses,” while only 26% agreed more that “this proposal is bad for Philadelphia businesses.”
  • A clear majority of voters believe the measure will improve the public health of the city. 59% agreed that “this proposal is good for public health in Philadelphia,” while 31% agreed that “this proposal will have no impact on public health in Philadelphia.”
  • Sixty-four percent of primary voters are more likely to support a City Council Member who backs the proposal, and only 23% were less likely. Voters also said they are less likely to support Mayor Nutter when they learn that he opposes the proposal (47% less likely / 30% more likely).
  • Women, African Americans, and young voters tend to be the strongest supporters of the paid sick days proposal. Although older voters, whites, and men tend to be least enthusiastic about the bill, a majority of voters in each of these groups voiced support for the bill (63% of seniors, 61% of men and 53% of older white men).

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, a broad coalition of 95 community organizations and labor unions advocating for paid sick days, commissioned the poll from the Anzalone Liszt Research group. The poll surveyed 500 Philadelphians – both Democrats and Republicans -- who voted in the May 17, 2011 Primary.

The new poll comes as members of the Coalition plan to go to City Hall on Thursday to call on Council Members to bring the paid sick days bill to a vote. Prior to Thursday’s Council session, members of the coalition will surround City Hall with more than 10,000 postcards from sick day supporters as commuters, City Hall workers, Council Members and the Mayor arrive for work.

Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill 080474), which would allow Philadelphia workers the opportunity to earn up to seven days of sick time per year, was voted out of the Public Health and Human Services Committee on March 1, 2011, and is awaiting a full Council vote. More than 200,000 Philadelphia workers – 40 percent of the city’s workforce – do not have access to paid sick days.

“Providing paid sick days is good for business,” a number of prominent Pennsylvania economists wrote in a recent letter to members of the City Council. “It reduces the serious and costly public health threat created by people coming to work sick, and businesses that provide paid sick days reduce worker-turnover and replacement costs.”

Cities and states across the country are considering bills to ensure workers are able to take paid time off when they’re sick. The Connecticut State Legislature is poised to vote on a state-wide bill this week, paid sick days legislation in New York City has 35 City Council sponsors, and diverse coalitions are supporting a bill in Seattle and preparing a ballot initiative in Denver. More than a dozen other states have coalitions advocating actively for paid sick days and paid family leave policies. San Francisco and Washington, DC have already implemented paid sick days laws.

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