“I have no fear that the voters are gonna say yes,” Atkinson said. “When we’re trying to make Michigan a more robust state and more competitive, we need to think about how workers are treated.”                                                                

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July 14th, 2015

Jennifer Teed teaches art for after school programs, but can’t call in sick without giving up a day of pay.

“It’s very difficult to be in the situation at the moment, when I need to go to work and I just feel awful. And, I need to go to work both because I need the money and because my employer doesn’t have subs available,” she explained.

But, Teed told News Ten, if she goes in when she’s sick, she knows she could pass it on to her students and she’s not as productive.

“Certainly I’m not able to be my full self when I’m with children – 30 or 40 at a time,” Teed said. “Sometimes I’m embarrassed and wondering if people realize I’m sick and I should probably hide the fact that I’m sick.”

That’s why Danielle Atkinson, a mother of four and founder of Mothering Justice, is leading the fight to allow workers across the state to earn paid sick days.

“It will apply to every worker, every worker will have the ability to earn one hour for every 40 worked,” Atkinson explained. “Everybody gets sick, but not everybody has time to get well. And, everybody has to have the guarantee of time off to take care of themselves without having to worry about a job.”

She’s been pushing the issue for the past four years and said it’s time to put it up to voters.

“I have no fear that the voters are gonna say yes,” Atkinson said. “When we’re trying to make Michigan a more robust state and more competitive, we need to think about how workers are treated.”

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce told News Ten it’s strongly opposed to a statewide mandate because not every employer can afford it.

Director of Health Policy & Human Resources, Wendy Block, explained, “It may require them to have to lay off employees or to reduce hours or other sorts of things. And, that benefit may not be worth it for the employee if they know what they may be losing in exchange.”

Block predicts the hospitality, retail and restaurant industries will be hit the hardest.