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Health care professionals support proposed sick leave ordinance

Emily Jaceks
September 21, 2017 05:37 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- With just weeks until Election Day in Albuquerque, the battle over paid sick leave continues. A group of health care workers weighed in on the debate Thursday, saying they support the ordinance.

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The health care providers discussed their reasoning at the First Choice South Broadway Medical Center. According to the doctors themselves, sick workers who are forced to work are a detriment to their employers and the community.

They're not only supporting this bill because it's the only one granting paid sick time on the ballot, but they're asking residents to vote yes because it's the right ordinance at the right time.

"I'm supporting it because it's a super important thing for our community and in general we can be a healthier in our community," said Dr. Tasha Barnes.

The proposed sick leave ordinance grants all the benefits full-time workers receive to those who work part time. Barnes said this would be a benefit to entire workforces. Employees won't worry about taking sick days and not getting paid anymore. That means they'll stay home, get better, and not spread their illness.

Barnes claims this ordinance also makes sense economically. She used an anecdote to help make her point. 

"Because she didn't have sick leave, she went with just an ace bandage on it and ended up twisting it much worse at work," Barnes said. "That's when she tore the ligament and had to be out of work for a week and in a walking boot for 5 weeks. And it because much more complicated because it could have become a workers comp issue because it was injured at work."

But opponents say the measure could destroy small businesses and potentially impact their employees negatively.

"Its original intent was to protect and help the employee, but it's going to do the opposite," Randy Baker from Rio Bravo Brewing Company said. "it's going to cause more employers to look at other ways of getting things done and laying off a few employees."

Baker said he believes quite a few employees will actually lose benefits if the program is implemented.

"Everybody keeps looking at businesses carrying the load and businesses can't carry the load," he said. "We're struggling to survive as it is."

Voters have less than two weeks to read up on this proposed ordinance before Election Day. Click here to read the proposed ordinance.

Credits

Emily Jaceks

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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