Family Values @ Work

Molly – Paid Sick Days Deliver Health and Goodwill

Molly – Paid Sick Days Deliver Health and Goodwill

May 22, 2017

Molly Moon Neitzel owns Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle, WA. Molly Moon’s has eight locations and employs 75 team members in the winter months, and as many as 200 in the summer.

Before she opened, Molly wrote a business plan. She wanted to start a small business only if she could live her values, including buying local and paying 100% of health care. Molly found that she could do that and be profitable as well. Soon she joined a group of other small business owners called Main Street Alliance. When they began to talk about a citywide paid sick days policy, Molly realized she had no plan in place. She got involved and gave her input on what she thought the law should include. And she decided to implement a policy at her shops before the new law was even in place.

At first she had some concerns, given that many of her employees are young. Would they stay out late partying and then call in sick? But she took the plunge.

“Right away I saw how much my employees appreciated the policy and I realized this was something I had overlooked in my business plan,” Molly said. “The amount of goodwill it brought me far outweighed the pennies that it cost.”

Molly says paid sick days “is working well for us. We haven’t seen a negative impact on our bottom line, and we haven’t experienced any abuses of the policy. People take it when they need it and don’t take it when they don’t. Most of my team members have lots of unused sick time.” In addition to guaranteeing it for her own employees, Molly became a champion for the bill in Seattle and then the ballot initiative that created a statewide law. She wanted this for everyone. After all, customers who lose a paycheck or a job when they’re sick are less likely to come to her ice cream shop.

In addition to loyalty from her own employees, Molly’s workplace policy brought other unexpected returns. “We have received tons of positive feedback from our customers who know we were some of the first to put these employee-first policies in place,” Molly said. “By setting an example for fellow business owners, I helped establish myself as a go-to source when analyzing the impact of forward-thinking policies on small businesses.”

Molly Moon Neitzel grew up in Boise, Idaho, and most of her family still lives there. “It’s a beautiful place to grow up, and I love visiting,” she said, “but lawmakers in Boise don’t often put forth legislation that puts customers and employees first. If you go to a sandwich shop in Idaho, they probably don’t offer paid sick days. And if the employee making the sandwich has the flu, now it’s on your sandwich.”

That’s why Molly is speaking out about the need for the Healthy Families Act, a national standard for paid sick days that would provide necessary and equal protections to employees and consumers nationwide.

FACT: When an employer offers paid sick time to care for ill children, employees are more satisfied in their work and less likely to leave their job.

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