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2 Different Takes On Denver’s Sick Day Initiative

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Kathie Maxwell, founder of the Children's Haven Child Care Center (credit: CBS)

Kathie Maxwell, founder of the Children’s Haven Child Care Center (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Some workers in Denver were using the Labor Day holiday to continue their push for every business in the city to provide paid sick leave.

The measure would require businesses with fewer than 10 employees to offer five paid sick days. Those with 10 or more workers would offer nine paid sick days.

CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd spoke to two businesses with very different positions on the issue.

When the Childrens Haven Childcare Center opened 25 years ago the mission was simple — give some of the Denver’s poorest children the finest care.

“Somebody said, ‘You know you’re not going to die a wealthy person.’ And I said, ‘I guess that would depend on what wealth is.’ To me wealth is knowing that I might have changed the life of a child,” said Kathie Maxwell, founder of the Children’s Haven Child Care Center.

But Maxwell admits it hasn’t been easy. Eighty percent of the children at the center fall below the poverty line. The city cut funding to the non-profit last year by 10 percent. Maxwell worries money will get even tighter under the November ballot initiative that would mandate Maxwell to give paid sick days.

“There’s just not enough money. We have worked the numbers over and over and over,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell provides paid vacation now but says that will become paid sick leave if the measure passes.

“We would have no flexibility at all,” she said.

Across town at Bayaud Enterprises Danielle Hudson has a different take. The document shredding and scanning company is also a non-profit that helps mentally and physically challenged people find jobs. She says they can’t afford not to offer paid sick leave.

“I think we see bigger decreases in productivity when people are afraid to stay home sick,” Hudson said. “Everyone is struggling right now, everyone has difficulties, but you’ve got to take care of your employees or your business just isn’t going to succeed.”

Hudson insists the imitative will level the playing field.

“Sometimes you need a mandate to get people headed in the right direction,” she said.

Whatever direction Denver decides will ultimately be up to voters.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is against the sick day initiate. Ballots go out in the mail the week of Oct. 9.

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