Sick-leave ballot campaign continues

Raise Up Massachusetts

With legislation passed that raises the state’s minimum wage to $11 by 2017, Raise Up Massachusetts has withdrawn its ballot question on the issue, but the group continues to press its initiative aimed at winning earned sick time for every worker in the Commonwealth.

Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of more than 100 community, labor and faith organizations, plans to turn in more than 80,000 signatures Monday, June 30, to ensure that the sick time initiative qualifies for the November ballot. The measure would guarantee every worker access to earned sick time.

A rally will be held on the steps of the State House at 11 a.m. You can RSVP to Monday’s event at http://ow.ly/yrido.

The MTA Board of Directors voted unanimously in fall 2013 to endorse both the minimum-wage and sick leave proposals, which are designed to improve fairness for some of the lowest-paid workers in the Commonwealth. Since then, the minimum-wage bill passed the House and Senate.

Governor Deval Patrick signed the minimum-wage legislation on Thursday, June 26. It raises the wage floor $1 per year through 2017 and increases wages for tipped workers to $3.75 per hour by 2017.

MTA President Paul Toner called the sick leave initiative important to the economic health of the Commonwealth and he urged its passage.

“Our continued economic progress in Massachusetts, as well as simple decency, demand that workplaces treat their employees in fair and equitable ways,” he said.

For companies with 11 or more employees, workers would earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time to visit the doctor or take care of a sick family member. At companies with 10 or fewer workers, employees would earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time.

For more information on the issue, visit the Raise Up Massachusetts website at www.raiseupma.org.