Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Ghost and Paid Sick Days

It was Friday afternoon. Jenny's night crew would arrive in the next thirty minutes. Business was going well at her restaurant in Sunnyvale. Profits were up and the workers seemed to like their work. With tips, the workers made a decent wage. Jenny didn't provide her workers with paid sick days because she figured they didn't need them.

Jenny went into the bathroom to wash her hands. Suddenly the lights went out. When she looked up, she saw a ghost.

"You can't be real," said Jenny. "My eyes must be playing tricks on me."

"Child, your eyes are fine," said the ghost.

"Who are you?" asked Jenny.

"Child, I can't believe you don't know who I am," said the ghost.

"Would you stop calling me child. I'm grown," said Jenny.

"I'm old enough to be your great-great-great grandma. So if I want to call you child, I can." replied the ghost.

"Wow," said Jenny. "Why are you here?"

"I am the ghost of no paid sick days."

"What does that mean?" asked Jenny.

"I am going to show you what happens when your workers lack paid sick days," said the ghost.

"Why?" asked Jenny.

"Because you have a worker who is sick," said the ghost.

"No, I don't," said Jenny.

"Yes, you do," said the ghost. "We are going to visit her now. Just close your eyes for a minute."

Jenny closed her eyes. When the ghost told her to open her eyes, she did.

They were outside a worker's apartment. They looked inside.

"That's Raquel," said Jenny.

Raquel was sneezing. Her eyes were red and her nose was running.

"Oh my gosh," said Jenny. "She looks horrible."

They watched Raquel take cough medicine and put medication in her eyes.

Raquel picked up her cell phone and punched in a number. The ghost and Jenny heard Raquel tell someone that she was going to work.

Jenny looked at the ghost and said, "Raquel should stay home."

The ghost pointed to a pile of bills on Raquel's desk. "Child, she can't stay home. If she does, she won't be able to pay her electric bill."

The ghost pointed to a notice that said the following:

Notice to shut off electricity: If you don't pay this bill in three days, we will be forced to shut off your electricity.

"It's not my problem that she's late on her bill," said Jenny. "She should manage her money better."

"Child, that's so mean." said the ghost. "Remember Raquel was out last month for a few days because her daughter was in the hospital?"

"Yes," replied Jenny.

"That caused her to get behind in her electric bill," said the ghost. "If she doesn't work today, they'll cut off her electricity."

"That's too bad," said Jenny.

"And if she comes to work, she'll get the customers sick and the other workers sick," said the ghost.

"That's true," said Jenny.

"Isn't Raquel your best food server?" asked the ghost.

"Yes," said Jenny.

"And hasn't she helped your business increase your profits by providing excellent service?" asked the ghost.

"Yes," answered Jenny.

"So she's an asset to your business, correct?" asked the ghost.

"Yes," replied Jenny.

"And don't all your workers do great work?" asked the ghost.

"Yes, I'm proud of my staff," said Jenny.

"You then need to provide paid sick days. It will keep the workplace healthy and keep the customers healthy. In the end, it's a win-win situation."

"That sounds good," said Jenny. "So what I should I do?"

"Call Raquel and tell her that you are providing your workers with paid sick days."

Jenny took her cell phone out of her purse and called Raquel. She told Raquel about the new paid sick day policy and told her to stay home. Raquel thanked her and agreed to stay home.

"Is there anything else I should do?" asked Jenny.

"We want to make paid sick days a standard for all California workplaces," said the ghost. "Please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers and tell all your friends and family in California about the petition."

"I will," said Jenny.

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