Mich. Dems hope GOP takes cue from President Trump and consider paid sick leave
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - We all know how hard the flu season has hit our loved ones this year.
"All of us in this room have probably wondered why in the world that person at the check out counter - or seating us at the restaurant - came to work when they were so obviously ill," said State Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) on Wednesday in a press conference.
Democrats say too many Michiganders don't receive paid sick leave, so they are once again trying to require every employer in Michigan to offer paid sick time to their employees.
State Sen. Jim Ananich's legislation would apply to every part time and full time worker in our state.
But there are powerful interest groups in Lansing that are expected to fight mandatory paid sick leave every step of the way.
Jared Field, the Co-Owner of Bloom Coffee in Lansing, says he wants his ten - mostly part time - employees to earn paid sick leave.
"It's something you should be paid for or at least have the opportunity to be paid for," said Field.
A few blocks away at the State Capitol, Democrats are proposing legislation that would require employers like Field to set aside one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works.
State Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) is leading the charge.
"More than 1.7 million Michigan workers - about 44% of the private sector work force - aren't able to take a paid sick day. It's time to change this," she said.
The Democrat's bills would also allow any part time or full time worker to use sick time during their own illness or the illness of a close family member.
"No one wants to send a young child to daycare or to school when they are sick," said Rep. Geiss.
But the Michigan Restaurant Association is expected to fight the legislation .
The MRA says a mandatory paid leave law would be disastrous to Michigan's tenuous economic recovery... [and] it would increase operating costs, resulting in lower wages and fewer jobs.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says the Democrat's bill could also have an adverse impact on employers’ ability to offer the voluntary benefits that workers need and want, such as retirement [and] health insurance.
Back at Bloom Coffee Shop, barista Sara Wood says she became ill one month into her job.
She says a mandatory paid sick leave law could help her and other minimum wage workers get by and get better
"There is a lot of pressure when you are ill - opening or closing - to find someone to cover you. So to have that financial stress on top of that, it's unnerving. And it doesn't help in aiding you feel better," said Wood.
Democrat's have introduced legislation like this three years in a row now.
They say this year is different.
Democrats say polling indicates a majority of Michiganders want this, as does Republican President Donald Trump. But we are expecting resistance among Michigan Republicans.