Majority of Denver voters support paid sick leave initiative, survey says

A new poll released today by Anzalone-Liszt Research finds that 65 percent of Denver likely voters support the paid sick and safe time initiative language proposed for Denver’s municipal ballot.

The polling was done for the Campaign for a Healthy Denver, which is leading the effort to get the initiative on the ballot.

“Denver voters agree that working families should not have to choose between their financial security and their families’ health,” said Erin Bennett, 9to5 National Association of Working Women Colorado Director and spokesperson for the Campaign for a Healthy Denver. “This new poll reinforces what our earlier research found – an overwhelming majority of Denver voters support paid sick days,” she said in a press release.

Highlights of the findings include:

A majority of Democrats (73 percent), Republicans (58 percent) and Independents (65 percent) support the initiative.

Eighty-three percent of African-American voters support paid sick days.

The Campaign for a Healthy Denver is required to submit 3,973 valid signatures to qualify for November’s municipal ballot. Volunteers and paid circulators will start gathering petition signatures this week. Once submitted, the city clerk has 25 days to verify the signatures.

From the Campaign’s press release:

Nearly forty percent of Denver workers – almost 100,000 individuals – do not have access to paid sick days to care for themselves or ill family members. Many working in jobs that require a high-level of interaction with the public go to work sick because they fear losing needed income or even their job. If the initiative passes, all workers in Denver will be able to earn paid sick and safe time based on the hours they work, up to nine days annually for full time workers to be pro-rated for part-time employees. Smaller businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be able to cap paid sick and safe time to five days per year.

In San Francisco and Washington, DC, where laws have already been enacted, studies show that workers are healthier and more productive when they have access to paid sick days. The studies also refute the corporate lobbyists’ predictions that legislation negatively impacts job growth and the economy – six in seven employers surveyed in San Francisco say that paid sick days have had no negative effect on profitability and nearly 70 percent of employers support the law.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.