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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 25, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Sick-leave pay and fiscal responsibility

Consider the source

Michael Saltsman, the research director of the Employment Policies Institute, wrote a guest column for The Seattle Times asserting that sick-leave pay is not a cost-free endeavor.

Michael Saltsman, the research director of the Employment Policies Institute, wrote a guest column for The Seattle Times asserting that sick-leave pay is not a cost-free endeavor.

As people read the recent guest column by Michael Saltsman, they should recognize the real agenda of ‘fiscally-conservative’ think tanks like the Employment Policies Institute, which is to preserve profitability on the backs of those who can’t help themselves. [“Sick-leave pay not a cure-all,” Opinion, Aug. 20.]

This same organization opposes the minimum wage and advises against increasing it. Use all the economics you want to confuse people, but I grew up in a society whose values included helping those who need it — a “hand up,” not a handout. In today’s world, that makes me a socialist wacko liberal, but I’m proud of it.

Steve Hawley, Issaquah

Sick-leave helps people

No one wants to be served by a sick waiter. No sick child should languish in the school nurse’s office because their parent can’t leave work.

Now, a year after Seattle’s sick-leave law went into effect, we can be confident that workers in our city at least have the option of staying home when the flu strikes.

Michael Saltsman’s swipe at Seattle’s law cites a survey of selected businesses, about one-third of whom believed sick leave would increase future costs. But he provides no evidence that it actually does.

The New York Times has described the Employment Policies Institute that did the survey as a “business-backed nonprofit that … argues against a higher minimum wage,” whose industry donors include chain restaurants.

It’s too early to have good data on the impacts of the sick-leave law on jobs and public health. Meanwhile, Seattle’s economy is the best in the state, and workers having reliable family income can only help.

Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, Seattle

Comments | More in Health care, Politics, Seattle | Topics: employment, paid sick-leave, Seattle

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