September 17, 2013
Washington, DC—The nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy group today is praising the introduction of new local legislation in Washington, DC—the Earned Sick And Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013—that would expand the requirement for employers to provide their workers with current paid sick days policies to apply to most tipped workers. The legislation, introduced today by Council Member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), along with several co-sponsors, is welcome news for both worker and consumer advocates alike.
“Paid sick days are good for everyone; it’s both a worker and consumer rights issue. Many successful restaurant owners have demonstrated that it’s possible to be responsible, compassionate employers without compromising the bottom line,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “It’s time for all employees, including the workers who prepare and serve food for DC residents in area restaurants, to earn the right to stay home when illness strikes, and help prevent the further spread of illness.”
According to 2013 research conducted by the DC-based National Consumers League (NCL), there is an expectation among restaurant patrons that the workers who cook and serve food they won’t be required to do so while sick. More than 90 percent of consumers surveyed agreed that it’s important that restaurant workers do not serve and cook when they are sick. However, research indicates that 90 percent of restaurant workers do not have paid sick days, and many say they come to work despite illness.
The DC legislation would expand the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, from 2008, that required paid sick leave but only for workers who have been on the job for a year and have worked a required 1,000 hours. The 2008 law also guaranteed nearly universal paid sick leave in the District, but excluded tipped wait staff, including most servers, bussers, and bartenders. Under the new law, the benefit would be expanded to tipped employees and the waiting period would be reduced to 90 days.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.