First we win – then we need to make sure the new law becomes familiar and accessible. To improve our success, paid sick days activists have been building strong relationships with agencies charged to enforce the laws. A group of officials from nearly a dozen jurisdictions across the nation met with advocates at the Ford Foundation last week, brought together by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and the Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP). They heard lessons and challenges and met in small groups to share strategies and plan ways to continue the conversation.
Keynote speakers included Maya Wiley, counsel for Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York, who reminded participants that the mayor’s commitment to enforcing the paid sick days law was directly tied to his determination to reduce inequality. New York has experienced job and business growth since implementing paid sick days. Family Values @ Work director Ellen Bravo also gave a keynote address. She shared lessons from member coalitions, including the need to work closely with administrative agencies, involve grassroots groups, identify the right messengers, and include community members in planning strategy. Both New York and Seattle have allocated funds to community-based organizations to help spread the word, train business owners and identify key violators.