Family Values @ Work

Majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents in Denver Support Paid Sick Days

June 15, 2011

New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Ballot Initiative Goals on Eve of Signature Collection Kick-Off

A new poll by Anzalone-Liszt Research finds that 65 percent of Denver likely voters support the paid sick and safe time initiative language proposed for Denver’s municipal ballot.  Released just as the Campaign for a Healthy Denver’s effort to start gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot commenced, the poll shows that support cuts across nearly every demographic group, including self-identified Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

“Denver voters agree that working families should not have to choose between their financial security and their families’ health,” said Erin Bennett, 9to5 National Association of Working Women Colorado Director and spokesperson for the Campaign for a Healthy Denver. “This new poll reinforces what our earlier research found – an overwhelming majority of Denver voters support paid sick days.”

Highlights of findings include:

  • A majority of Democrats (73 percent), Republicans (58 percent) and Independents (65 percent) support the initiative language.
  • Eighty-three percent of African-American voters support paid sick days.
  • Eighty-two percent of young women support paid sick days, including 78 percent of mothers of children younger than 18.
  • Nearly half of the initiative’s supporters (32 percent) are “strongly” for the paid sick days while only 16 percent are “strongly” against it.

The Campaign for a Healthy Denver is required to submit 3,973 valid signatures to qualify for November’s municipal ballot.  Volunteers and paid circulators will start gathering petition signatures this week.  Once submitted, the City Clerk has 25 days to verify the signatures.

“The poll results are creating a lot of excitement among our campaign’s volunteers and supporters,” said Brother David Garner, Abbott of St. Dunstan’s Abbey in the Grey Robed Order of St. Benedict and campaign volunteer.  “Knowing that Denver voters support a paid sick days policy in the city is a terrific way to kick off our petition signature effort this week.”

Nearly forty percent of Denver workers – almost 100,000 individuals – do not have access to paid sick days to care for themselves or ill family members. Many working in jobs that require a high-level of interaction with the public go to work sick because they fear losing needed income or even their job.  If the initiative passes, all workers in Denver will be able to earn paid sick and safe time based on the hours they work, up to nine days annually for full time workers to be pro-rated for part-time employees. Smaller businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be able to cap paid sick and safe time to five days per year.

In San Francisco and Washington, DC, where laws have already been enacted, studies show that workers are healthier and more productive when they have access to paid sick days.  The studies also refute the corporate lobbyists’ predictions that legislation negatively impacts job growth and the economy –  six in seven employers surveyed in San Francisco say that paid sick days have had no negative effect on profitability and nearly 70 percent of employers support the law.

The Campaign for a Healthy Denver – a coalition of more than 40 community organizations, labor groups, faith leaders and organizations, public health groups, elected officials and businesses seeks to pass a Denver ballot initiative to protect public health by guaranteeing a basic standard of paid sick days for employees in all Denver workplaces.



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