I’m a small-business owner and I support L.D. 369, state Sen. Rebecca Millett’s bill to guarantee earned paid sick days for Maine workers.

I grew up in Gorham and after training at Portland Arts and Technology High School and at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle, I started McPherson Plumbing and Heating in 2007. We do everything from residential projects and new construction to remodeling and service work.

My workers are crucial to the success of my business, and one of the ways I value them is by allowing them to earn paid sick time. Depending on how long they have been with us, they have two to three weeks of paid time off per year that they can use any way they like.

The big-business lobbyists who have been trying to defeat paid sick days have been writing a lot in this paper’s op-eds about how complicated it is to integrate vacation or paid time off with paid sick days. It’s been pretty darn easy for me. If they need to take a sick day, I just mark it as one of their paid-time-off days. It’s not that complicated.

According to studies, workers in the service industry who had access to paid sick days were 50 percent less likely to leave their jobs. From my own experience, that’s also true in the home improvement industry. Replacing a skilled worker is one of the largest costs for small-business owners like me. Recruiting, hiring and training a plumber or heating technician up to the level of my other workers can take years and cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.

Offering paid sick days is an investment in my employees that pays dividends. When workers know that they are valued, they put their all into their work.

Mark McPherson


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