Gov. Scott Sides with Corporate Interests over Public Healthmand Citizens Rights — Signs Earned Sick Time preemption bill

Miami-Dade: Today, June 14 Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 655, a bill passed by the 2013 Florida
Legislature that preemptive prevents any local ordinance allowing working families to earn sick time
on the job.

“This bill is not only a detriment to public health and citizens’ rights, but is evident of the harmful
relationship between corporate interests and government officials,” said Saru Jayaraman, codirector
of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. “Darden Restaurant brands, a monolithic
restaurant corporation and ardent supporter of HB655, is headquartered in Florida. Due to Gov.
Scott’s unwillingness to stand up for workers and families, and instead side with Darden & Disney,
puts the entire public health of Florida at risk.”

The restaurant industry has become the third largest private sector in the Miami-Dade region,
employing more than 72,700 workers. Nearly 90% of restaurant workers nationwide have no access
to earned paid sick days, and 64% have worked while sick, according to extensive surveying of
thousands of restaurant workers by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, as well as the
National Institute of Health’s National Health Interviews Survey.

According to ROC Miami’s 2012 report, “Backed into the Corner: Serving While Sick in Miami-Dade”:

  • – Nine out of ten Miami restaurant workers do not have access to earned sick days;
    47.6% report having worked while sick.
  • – 74% of workers that worked sick cited they could not afford to take the day off without
    pay.
  • – Among the 47.6% of workers surveyed that worked sick, 65.5% said their work productivity
    was negatively affected and two-fifths had longer illnesses as a consequence of working,
    increasing the negative consequences for themselves and their family.
  • – Over 40% of those workers surveyed that worked sick reported coughing or sneezing while
    handling food.

HB655 does not represent the will of the public. A recent PPP Poll found that 80% of likely Florida
voters support Earned Sick Time. A full 60% support the right of local governments and voters to
make their own laws, while 51% do not trust the Florida Legislature to make the right decisions for
local communities and middle class families. Of women who were surveyed, 86% support Earned
Sick Time.

“Today, Governor Scott took away my ability to stay at home when sick or to take care of sick family
members. Just like me, over 90 percent of Miami-Dade restaurant workers will continue to have to
choose between a day’s pay or working while sick,” said Erica Sommers, restaurant worker and ROC
Miami member. “Earned Sick Time would have allowed us to stay at home when we are sick to take
care of ourselves or a sick child.”

ROC United, ROC Miami, and members of Florida’s Earned Sick Time coalition remain committed to
continue fighting for the right to Earned Sick Time.

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ROC United is a non-profit committed to improving working conditions for the US restaurant
workforce, with 10,000 worker members across 26 states. Get more information at rocunited.org.