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Sick-leave policy a must

I represent the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane in the Spokane Alliance, a 20,000-member coalition of church, labor and nonprofit groups working for a better Spokane. The Spokane Alliance has been working with several Spokane City Council members on a new policy that would give many city workers their first chance to accrue sick leave.

Approximately 40,000 Spokane workers, most low-income, have no paid sick leave. We think this is unacceptable. It means the most economically vulnerable must either come to work sick or lose a day’s pay because of the inevitable illnesses that affect us all. It means that germs in restaurants, health care facilities and other workplaces are spread more frequently. It creates other inequities, including school absenteeism when older children are recruited to care for younger ones when a sick parent cannot afford to miss work.

The council has formed a working group and soon will have a proposed ordinance for public review. We call on Spokane to join Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, 15 other cities and three states with enlightened sick-leave policies.

Karen Dorn Steele


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