We own Print: A Bookstore in Portland, and support L.D. 369, state Sen. Rebecca Millett’s bill to guarantee earned paid sick time to Maine workers.

Some big business lobbyists are calling for a “compromise,” which is actually an attempt to gut the bill. However, L.D. 369 is already a compromise. While tens of thousands of Maine voters support a ballot initiative for universal earned paid sick days, Sen. Millett’s bill has a carve-out for businesses of under five employees.

As small-business owners with only three employees (two full-time and one part-time), we would not be required to offer earned paid sick time under L.D. 369. However, we already do offer it and we will continue to do so because it is the right thing to do. It’s about the social contract we can and should have with our workers – a contract that says that we care about the health of our staff, our customers and our state. No one should have to make the choice between staying home sick and losing income. Period.

It’s also a smart business decision. Workers have enough to worry about when they’re recovering from an illness or taking care of a sick child. They shouldn’t also have to worry about losing a paycheck or even their job. Our employees put their full selves into their work because they know that we have their back. They are also not coming to work sick and sneezing all over our books and our customers.

Sick customers don’t buy books. We as business owners can either choose to fuel a cycle of sickness, low morale and distrust, or we can foster one of mutual respect and value, high morale and health. We choose the latter.

Emily Russo

South Portland

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