- About 21,000 (44%) of the 49,000 jobs in Bellingham do not provide any paid sick leave. These include 2,500 in health care, 3,500 in retail, and 4,000 in accommodation and food service.
- Over half (53%) of Bellingham residents with jobs work inside city limits, but 47% commute to jobs outside the city. Of all jobs in the city, 38% are held by Bellingham residents.
- Women hold 55% of the jobs in Bellingham, and White workers 91%.
- Only 20% of workers with the lowest 10% of wages receive paid sick leave, compared to 87% among the highest earners.
- 37.4% of Bellingham’s 11,000 public school students qualify for free/reduced price lunch, putting them at high risk of having parents without access to sick leave.
Improving health and safety
- The Washington State Board of Health concluded that adopting paid sick leave standards would improve health and financial stability for workers and families:
- When employees and their families stay home from work, school, or daycare when sick, there are decreases in transmission of communicable disease.
- When employees take time off of work to recover when ill they recover more quickly and when they attempt to work through illness their symptoms can be exacerbated.
- Parents report positive effects of leave on their child’s physical and emotional health as well as their own emotional health when they take time off to care for their sick child.
- Access to paid sick leave is associated with decreased on-the-job injuries, and more well-child visits, cancer screenings and other preventative health care services.
- Sick workers spread disease to coworkers and customers, are less productive, and have more workplace accidents.
- Employees with paid sick leave have higher morale and are more loyal – decreasing costly turnover and increasing customer satisfaction.
- Businesses of all sizes are thriving in the more than 20 cities and states with paid sick leave standards.