Sick, Safe, and Family Leave
Everyone gets sick. And everyone deserves time to get better, without risking their economic security or safety. Now about 40,000 workers in Spokane receive earned sick and safe leave, as a result of our work.
Without access to sick or safe leave, workers risk the health and safety of themselves, the public, and their families. Access to Earned Sick and Safe Pay reduces employee turnover, protects the safety of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, increases employee morale and productivity, and ensures workers don’t spread illnesses.
In 2014, a comprehensive survey indicated 87% of Spokane residents agreed that “working people who are sick or have sick children should be able to take paid sick days.” According to a 2015 national survey, “88 percent of voters say they want all workers to be able to earn paid sick days” to care for themselves and their family members.
On January 11th, 2016 the Spokane City Council voted 6-1 to pass a Sick and Safe Leave Policy, on the 22nd Mayor Condon vetoed it, and three days after that the city council overrode the mayor's veto.
Over 180 people turned out in support of Sick and Safe Leave on the night of the initial vote with over 30 prepared testimonies from many different perspectives.
We, the Spokane Alliance and our allies, were able to pass a strong policy for Spokane and succeeded in getting a stronger policy than most jurisdictions across the country.
Our whole city will benefit from this. We are on our way to becoming safer and healthier. There are many key organizing lessons we can pull from this campaign. Here are a few:
1. Our focus and consistency mattered. We were willing to stick with it, we took the time to engage thousands of people, found hundreds of personal stories, new business allies and organizational relationships.
2. There were a number of significant challenges we faced while working on this issue. We wrestled, debated and worked through tense moments together and came out on the other end a stronger, more mature team.
3. Dozens of people inside our member organizations we've never worked with emerged from taking on this issue. We created opportunities for people to grow and develop leadership skills. This intentional focus makes our collective stronger and your local organizations stronger as well. Together we are developing new leaders.