A few days after six City Council members weighted in negatively on the paid sick leave initiative, the local organization spearheading the effort to get Denver residents to pass the measure wants them to think of the children.
In the latest move to persuade local citizens to vote “yes” on Initiative 300 which will be on the ballot in November, The Campaign for a Healthy Denver was slated to hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Hope Center, a childcare center on the city’s northeast, to show how paid sick days are important not only to local workers but their children as well.
In a press release, the Campaign said that parents who lack paid sick days often are unable to stay at home with their sick children and are forced to send them to school, exposing their classmates and teachers to their illness.
The Campaign added that when the children’s older siblings, often middle and high school students, are told to stay home and care for their younger brothers and sisters, their own education progress is “negatively impacted”.
The Campaign was slated to present the Hope Center, 3400 Elizabeth Street, with their Model Denver Healthy Business Award, for their commitment to providing their employees with paid sick days.
The press conference and award ceremony comes two days after six of the 13 Denver City Council members issued a press release voicing their opposition to Initiative 300, calling it an “additional financial burden” to the city. The open letter was distributed by “Keep Denver Competitive”, a self-described “broad coalition of the state’s leading business and employer organizations”, who are the driving force behind the “No on 300” campaign.
The release, signed by Peggy Lehmann (Dist. 4), Mary Beth Susman (Dist. 5), Charlie Brown (Dist. 6), Albus Brooks (Dist. 8), Jeanne Robb (Dist. 10) and Chris Herndon (Dist. 11), stated that Initiative would cost the city almost $700,000 a year in addition to the already anticipated budget shortfall of nearly $100 million.
The councilmen said that the city already has already scheduled five furlough days for all employees in an attempt to balance its budget and that Initiative 300 would create an additional cost that would mean cutting other city services to meet the financial demand.
The added that some of the policies that would be implemented by Initiative 300 come in direct conflict with some of the city’s already-existing paid sick leave policies.
“Initiative 300 has a number of flaws in the way it was written, and based on the legal and budgetary analysis by the city, we cannot support it,” the councilmen said.
Previously, Mayor Michael Hancock and Gov. John Hickenlooper voiced opposition to the paid sick leave ballot initiative.