Skubick: Earned sick time question may land on 2016 ballot

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan voters may get a chance to extend earned sick time for about a million workers who don’t have that benefit. A statewide petition drive was launched today.

From the folks who brought you a boost in the state’s minimum wage now comes a petition drive to provide earned sick time to those who don’t have that benefit.

Danelle Atkinson of Mothering Justice states “everyone gets sick but not everyone has the time to get well.”

Justin Winslow of the Michigan Restaurant Association thinks this effort is nothing more than interference in the private sector.

The Michigan Restaurant Association reports that many of its businesses do offer paid time off for being sick. But the group’s lobbyist contends many smaller independent businesses can’t afford to do it. “The industry is very low profit and many are in and out of business all the time so dealing with a 4% profit margin,” says Winslow. “It really could be the difference between being in business or not. These one-size rigid mandates will not effect everyone the same way. The smallest operators are in most danger.”

But petition drive leader Danelle Atkinson says patrons are in danger if served by a sick employee. “Over 90% of restaurant workers aren’t able to take time off, which means they’re serving the flu with your food.”

If enough names are collected this could be on the statewide ballot in 2016.

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