As members of the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth city councils, we are
We are proud to implement the Satisfying and Safe Earned Time policies in our cities. These policies have been game-changers for workers and businesses in our communities, and we believe they should be expanded to all Minnesotans. By expanding sick and safe earned time for all workers in Minnesota, we can take an important step toward ensuring that every Minnesota can provide for themselves and their families.
Earned sick and safe time is an essential protection that keeps workers and their families healthy and safe. In our experience, this policy also has a significant impact on historically marginalized communities, such as women and people of color, who are disproportionately likely to work low-paying jobs without access to paid sick leave.
When workers are forced to choose between going to work sick or losing a day’s pay—or worse, losing their job—it’s not just their health that’s at risk. It’s also the health of their co-workers and customers. And for those without the financial backing to go unpaid, it’s a choice between renting or staying healthy and safe.
This is not just an ethical issue for our societies. It is also an economic issue. Sick workers are less productive and more likely to make mistakes on the job, which can lead to costly accidents or loss of business. Workers who lack these basic protections are difficult to recruit and retain. By providing workers with satisfactory and safe time, we ensure a healthier, safer, and more productive workforce.
In our cities, satisfying and safe time earning is good for businesses of all sizes. Studies have shown that companies that provide paid sick times have lower turnover rates and higher employee morale, which can translate to higher productivity and profitability. And for small businesses, which often operate on tight margins, a satisfactory and safe earned time policy evens out the playing field, while also helping to attract and retain the best employees.
Some of the lobbyists who work for wealthier corporations would have us believe they deliver
Such protection for low-wage workers would simply severely reduce their higher earnings. But studies have shown that the cost of earned sick and safe time is often less than 1% of payroll. When you think about the potential savings and benefits from reduced turnover and increased productivity—not to mention making our communities places that workers and families want to be a part of over the long haul—the positive return on investment is indisputable.
Earned satisfactory and safe time is a logical and checked policy, and simply the right thing to do. In a state that prides itself on being family and worker friendly, it is unacceptable that so many Minnesotans have to choose between their health and their salary. By expanding sick and safe earned time for all Minnesotans, we can ensure that everyone has the ability to live dignified, safe, and healthy lives, without fear of losing their job or paycheck.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background, zip code, or income. Our legislators are working hard to make Minnesota a better place for families and children. Satisfying and safe time earned is a non-negotiable part of how we get there, and it’s great for workers and businesses alike. We urge Minnesota legislators to keep up the good work and make satisfying and safe earned time the norm for all Minnesota communities.
Mitra Jalali is a member of the St. Paul City Council, Elliott Payne is a member of the Minneapolis City Council and Mike Mayo is a member of the Duluth City Council.