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New Sick Leave Proposal is Firing Up City Council Members

The Spokane city council shared initial renderings of a sick leave policy last week on the city website. Next week, they invite the public to a meeting on the proposal. The majority of city council members back the idea, but at least one (Mike Fagan) is voicing concern.

The draft proposes two options for sick and safe leave. One proposal would require all businesses licensed in Spokane to offer their full time employees sick and safe leave time. The other would require it for all businesses with more than 4 employees. Council Member Mike Fagan sees flaws in the plan.

Fagan: “You’ve got seven employees in your company, what’s going to happen to those extra employees in order to pay for this program. What’s going to happen to the other benefit, you know bonuses could become smaller, pay raises could become fewer and far between.”

Fagan doesn’t oppose worker sick leave altogether though. He says he would support sick-leave sharing, where people with extra time accrued could spread it to other employees. But council president Ben Stuckart says first there needs to be a sick and safe leave policy to start with. He says the proposal is particularly important for victims of domestic violence because of the ‘safe leave’ aspect.

Stuckart: “A lot of people talk a big game about domestic violence, yet they’re not willing to really do anything about it, and I think this is a huge step forward for our community.”

Safe leave would give time off to people who, for example, are facing domestic violence and had to leave home, and need time to recuperate.

The city council has heard from several businesses already, and wants to hear more even more owners and workers. They are hosting a public meeting on the draft policy next Thursday night. 

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

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