Paid Sick Time? Question 4 Has People Talking

In Massachusetts, Question 4 on this November’s upcoming ballot is asking whether or not paid sick time should be a guarantee for every worker in the state. That includes part-timers as well as full-timers, from public to private employees – and this issue has businesses and workers split, asking more questions along the way.

The issue that will grace voters’ ballots covers paid time off to handle an illness or care for a spouse, parent or child who has fallen sick. Workers who need time away to see a doctor will also get paid, as will employees coping with the effects of domestic violence, including legal obligations.

This would be key for part-time staff members who rely on hourly wages.

Questions about Question 4?
Question 4 has only led to more questions, from workers to politicians and local businesses. According to The Boston Globe, supporters include many of the 1 million workers who would directly benefit from this law and workers’ rights groups in the state. Asking for changes to the legislation’s wording are small business employers and business associations, who argue that the proposal as it stands has too many negatives.

While many on both sides of the issue feel that paid sick time is an important and admirable goal, this hasn’t stopped it from being a hot-button topic for voters. Democratic nominee Martha Coakley and independent Evan Falchuk are in favor of Question 4, while Charlie Baker, the Republican nominee, is opposed.

Pros for paid sick time include more flexibility and financial support for employees. On the other hand, detractors are afraid that the law would allow businesses to avoid hiring single parents or people with medical conditions. It might also financially penalize employers or reward irresponsible workers.

What are your thoughts on Question 4? Weigh in below.