News from Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan 

March 2, 2015

Contact: Danielle Atkinson, 313-971-1492,

Earned Sick Leave Coalition Announces Launch of Campaign in Grand Rapids

Coalition will push for legislation giving workers the right to earn paid sick days

GRAND RAPIDS — Today at the Garfield Park Neighborhood Lodge, citizens, elected officials and workers’ rights advocates announced the launch of a statewide coalition that will push for the Michigan Legislature to pass a law giving workers the right to earn paid sick days.

The coalition is comprised of groups from around the state, including Mothering Justice, the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan, the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, and Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES), Building Movement Project Detroit People’s Platform, ROC Michigan, and Our Kitchen Table.

“We all have either experienced a workday where we were too sick to be working, needed to go to the doctor, or take care of a sick loved one, or know someone who has,” said Danielle Atkinson, director of Mothering Justice. “Unfortunately, many people cannot afford to have their employers short them a day’s worth of pay to take a day of work off when situations like those arise.”

More than 1.5 million Michigan workers — about 46 percent of the state’s private sector workforce — are not able to take a paid sick day when they are ill.

A recent poll by Denno Research found that a majority of Michiganders — 86 percent — support policies that would allow employees to take work off to get healthy or take care of a loved one without losing out on a paycheck.

“It’s time for our legislators to listen to the voices of their residents and enact paid sick day legislation,” Atkinson continued.

Low-wage workers are most impacted by not having the right to earn paid sick days. Nationally, nearly four in 10 private sector workers—and 80 percent of low-wage workers —don’t have a single paid sick day to recover from illnesses or take care of a sick loved one. Among the lowest-wage workers, eight in ten lose income and risk job loss or workplace discipline when they are ill.

“No one should have to face the awful choice between caring for their health and keeping their paychecks or jobs,” said Anita Moore with Our Kitchen Table. “It’s time for our elected leaders to pass paid sick day legislation and ensure that all workers don’t have to make that choice.”

Coalition partners will be conducting research, engaging with the public and businesses and talking with lawmakers over the coming year in an effort to get this much-need legislation on the books in Michigan.