Paid Sick Days: Good for Workers, Good for Business

Tony Sandkamp, owner of Sandkamp Woodworks in New Jersey, is a supporter of paid sick days for workers – because it makes sense for employees, and it makes sense for his company’s bottom line. Sandkamp, a Main Street Alliance leader, recently joined a panel of business leaders at the New York Regional Forum on Working Families, organized by the White House and the Department of Labor.

Part of the discussion focused on paid sick days. While many employees take it for granted that their employer will still pay them if they are forced to stay home sick a few days each year,many more workers are not given the option. If employees don’t come to work, they aren’t paid. Even scarier, if they miss work because of sickness, they risk losing their job.

“It’s ironic that I am advocating for paid sick leave, given that I think the last sick day I personally took was when I broke my leg in the third grade,” said Sandkamp. “When I worked for the airlines back in my twenties, I earned the ‘perfect attendance’ award for three consecutive years.

“But paid sick days just makes common sense – even for me and my small business,” said Sandkamp.

He has owned a custom woodworking business in Jersey City for more than 20 years. Sandkamp makes furniture and cabinets that are unique and one of kind – any mistakes can be very costly.

“A few years back, we were working on a cabinet, and the entire piece was coming from one tree, which required us to carefully match the grains of wood. It was very intricate work, and required a lot of concentration.

“One of my employees was cutting the veneers and cut them the wrong way. It was all the veneer we had left. He came into my office after he made the mistake. He had obviously been crying. He was a man who took great pride in his work,” said Sandkamp.

“What I didn’t know was that he had a fever. It was the flu season. But he came to work anyway, because he needed the pay. This man was the sole provider for his family. We started the cabinet over again, and lost a month’s work.

My business bottom line is not only about dollars – it’s about keeping my employees healthy and happy.

“For me, paid sick days is a non-issue since it will improve my employee retention,” said Sandkamp. “The cost of training that employee and replacing them is many times greater. I need people to work at their best every day. If they are sick and feel financial pressure to come into work, they are much more likely to make a mistake or potentially hurt themselves.”

The momentum is growing nationwide for economy-boosting policies like paid sick days. Laws requiring paid sick days have been passed in New York City, Newark, Jersey City, Portland, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and San Francisco. Small business owners across the country are getting involved at the local level to help craft and support laws that are good for small businesses, good for workers, and good for the local economy.

As we work together to build cabinets, paid sick days help build common ground, which makes my business stronger, and my employees’ lives better,” said Sandkamp.

Check out a video of the panel discussion here.

 

New Jersey Small Businesses Still Adrift Two Years After Sandy

NJ worried businessesSince Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast in November 2012, small business owners who were promised financial assistance to help their businesses excited abut rebuilding and recovering, are still waiting for the funding to appear. Corinne Horowitz, the business representative for the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, describes their frustration as they search for solutions.

By Corinne Horowitz

 

Small business owners who were devastated by Sandy in November 2012 are outraged over the mishandling of Sandy business grants by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Gov. Chris Christie’s Administration. 

Working with the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, business owners attended the economic development public hearing, townhall meetings, and finally organized a press conference to call for investigation and oversight of the program.

The federal Sandy Relief Bill passed in January 2013 allocated $260 million for the Stronger New Jersey Business Grant Program to provide grants of up to $50,000 to affected businesses “for working capital or construction needs.”  Businesses that were at first relieved by the anticipation of rebuilding and recovering from the storm, soon became dismayed what has turned out to be a daunting process.

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Main Street to Microsoft: “Stop offshore tax dodging”

This week, hundreds of Washington state small business owners affiliated with the Main Street Alliance of Washington sent an open letter to Microsoft calling on tech giant to stop offshore tax dodging, the Seattle Times reports.

According to BloombergBusinessweek, Microsoft tops the list of U.S. tech firms with the biggest overseas profit hauls, holding $76 billion in profits stashed offshore.  In their letter, small business owners express their disappointment that Microsoft has joined in coalitions with other big corporate interests lobbying for a permanent tax amnesty on offshore profits – a so-called “territorial” tax system – while backing cuts to Medicare and Social Security that would wreak further havoc on the Main Street economy.

“Small business owners are proud to contribute our fair share. We know that in order to build strong local economies, Read more

WITH WALL STREET “TOO BIG TO FAIL,” IS MAIN STREET “TOO SMALL TO PREVAIL”?

Small business forum adds Main Street voice to growing momentum for megabank limits

Today, small businesses owners from across the country added a Main Street voice to growing momentum for post-Dodd-Frank measures to end the era of “Too Big to Fail” banking in the lingering wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed.

At a D.C. policy forum organized by the Main Street Alliance, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, economist Simon Johnson, and a panel of small business owners and policy experts each spoke of the need for renewed attention to megabank limits in order to stabilize the financial system and support the Main Street economy. Read more