Mamas on Bedrest: Denver is Poised to Pass Paid Sick Leave Bill

October 21st, 2011

Denver Colorado is poised to be the 4th US City to provide paid sick leave to its employees. Currently, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, DC all have laws guaranteeing workers a certain of number of paid sick days-days which workers can take due to their own illness or to care for a sick relative. Connecticut is the only state with a law that guarantees paid sick leave for its employees.

According to The Denver Post, Backers submitted 12,636 petition signatures to the Denver Elections Division — more than triple the 3,973 that must be verified by election officials within 25 days to place the measure on the November ballot. The clerk and recorder certified 7,248 petition signatures. On November 1, 2011 ballot, Denver voters will vote on Initiative 300, The Paid Sick Leave Bill, and decide whether or not to make paid sick days the law.

The bill has been contentiously debated. Many businesses, legislative officials (including Gov. John Hickenlooper) oppose the bill stating that it will cost Denver too much, some $700,000 annually, and only add to the current budget shortfall. They also contend that this bill will put Denver at a competitive disadvantage compared with other Colorado Cities who don’ t have such a mandated sick leave policy. The Majority of the Denver City Council opposes the bill as well.

However, the majority of Denver voters are in favor of the bill. Huff Post Denver reports that 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.”

Low income workers and minorities stand to benefit the most from passage of the paid sick leave bill. Huff Post Denver further reports,

“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.”

While the Denver battle may seem remote to Mamas on Bedrest, it is indicative of the change that is coming. No longer is it okay for women, minorities and low income workers to have to choose between keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table and caring for their health and the health of their families. Public outcry is strong and change is imminent. Let’ s hope that this wave of change will extend to paid maternity leave so that Mamas on Bedrest will be able to relax and calmly gestate their babies instead of stressing themselves out over whether or not they will be able to stay in their homes, maintain their jobs and their health insurance and be able to pay for the child that is on the way.

Are you a Mama on Bedrest in Denver? We’d love to hear your perspective on the Campaign for a Healthy Denver and Initiative 300. Share your thoughts below. You can also tweet us on Twitter @mamasonbedrest or post your comments on our Facebook page.

One response to “Mamas on Bedrest: Denver is Poised to Pass Paid Sick Leave Bill”

  1. If you would, please tell Dr. Brewer thank you for me also. My first baby was twins, I got HELLP syndrome and had a near death experience, the babies were 30 weeks gestation. They are 15 now, and as healthy as can be and I’ll be 40 on Monday and pregnant again. In between these two, I had a big fat healthy baby via VBAC, no complications, thanks to Dr. Brewer’s diet, except a lot of hassle from the OB who said I was getting too fat. I’m seeing a midwife this time who reminded me of the diet and I’m following it closely again and feel much better, it’s amazing what you forget in just a few years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *