Yes on Question 4 in Massachusetts; earned sick time now

Double Booked: No One Should Have to Choose Between A Healthy Family and A Job



In this season of renewal, Jews reflect on the year past and look forward to a 5775, a year that brings new opportunity. Since the launch of Double Booked this past January, we have identified some of the challenges that working families face today and discussed a wide variety of cultural, social, and policy solutions. The Jewish new year seems a fitting time to reveal the next phase of our Double Booked initiative, which will focus on working with our interfaith partners to lift up good internal employment policies as well as to engage our denominations and houses of worship in federal, state, and local initiatives to pass much-needed policies to support the modern American family.

One such policy is ensuring paid sick days. We are proud to report that the Union for Reform Judaism (which the RAC is part of) offers its employees a generous paid sick days policy. The Union demonstrated its strong support again for these policies in a new resolution that was passed at our 2013 Biennial.

Deputy Director Rachel Laser and familyI was recently at an event on women’s economic security at the Center for American Progress when Senator Patty Murray remarked: “Every mother will tell you that she does a better job at work when she knows her child is safe.” Exactly. As a mother of three kids, I can tell you that when my kids are sick, I worry about them and cannot bring my best self to work. I have been blessed to have employers who understand that and whose workplace policies have afforded me paid sick days when I have needed them, no questions asked. Every parent should be able to be there for their sick child and have this same economic stability and trust.

That’s why I am excited to share that we will be engaging in an effort in Massachusetts to ensure that workers can accrue and use earned sick time.

On November 4, 2014, when Massachusetts residents head to the polls to vote in critical state and federal races, voters can also vote on ballot Question 4 – a measure to enact paid sick days across the state.

Judaism teaches us that employers should teach their workers well and with respect:  “One who withholds an employee’s wages is as though he deprived him of his life” (Baba Metzia 112a). Indeed, in the case of paid sick days, a worker’s pay is directly tied to his or her wellbeing.

By voting yes on ballot Question 4, we can ensure that no one in Massachusetts must choose between their health or the health of a family member and their financial security.

If you live in Massachusetts, pledge here to vote yes on Question 4 this election!

Whether or not you live in Massachusetts, please share this pledge widely to family and friends in Massachusetts and encourage others to do the same!

Additionally, Massachusetts’ voter registration deadline is October 15 so it is not too late for Massachusetts residents to register to vote so that they can get to the polls on November 4. Check out the RAC’s Get Out The Vote Guide, our Do’s and Don’ts Guide for Religious Nonprofits, and our GOTV Guide for First Time Voters for more information and for ideas about engagement around Election 2014!

May we all – people of all faiths and people of no faith – find sweetness, happiness, and good health in 5775. We look forward to working together to affect real change in the lives of working families, in Massachusetts and around the country.

Comments are an important part of the conversation. Share your thoughts in the comments sectionThis blog is part of a special RACBlog series, “Double Booked: A Conversation about Working Families in the 21st Century,” dealing with the many issues that affect working families, and featuring everything from personal stories to policy analysis. Visit the Double Booked portal to read more posts, or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #doublebooked.

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Rachel Laser

About Rachel Laser

Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, has been the General Counsel for Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington, Senior Counsel for the National Women’s Law Center and Director of the Culture Program at Third Way, where she helped draft the first ever pro-life/pro-choice abortion bill in Congress.

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