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Tempe could become first Arizona city to pass paid sick-leave ordinance

This past Thursday, the Tempe City Council discussed the possibility of perhaps passing a city-wide ordinance that would enable all workers, both full-time and part-time, to earn paid sick-leave.  If passed, the ordinance would make Tempe the first city in Arizona to have paid sick-leave.

In an interview with Phoenix Business Journal, Mary Ann Miller, president and CEO of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, indicated she is split when it comes to the new proposed ordinance.

“We first need to know who already offers (paid sick leave) and who doesn’t,” Miller said. “We also need to look into who works remotely and who doesn’t because even that has an impact.

“The way we work has changed, and we are still trying to pay by the old way.”

The impact a new paid sick-leave ordinance would be felt most notably by small businesses who may not have the resources to offer that level of compensation for their employees.

“[Small businesses] may have some other ways of compensating for sick leave to where they may not need it,” said Rick Murray, CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA).  However, he cautioned, “It will have a chilling effect on jobs going into the city of Tempe if it passes.”

On the other hand, Tempe councilwoman Lauren Kuby believes the proposal will build employee loyalty, as the implementation of the ordinance would allow for a 10-cent increase in pay to employees.

“Paid sick leave leads to less turnover and employers benefit from that,” Kuby said. “Employers end up benefiting from employees who are loyal.”

For the Tempe City Council to begin officially looking into the matter, it would need one more council member to sign off on the proposal before they would meet with business owners in the area and educate them on the impacts the ordinance would have.

“The reason we want to meet with businesses is we want to make a bill that is designed to our employment, that is best for our community,” Kuby said. “As always, our main goal is to always make Tempe a better place to live, work and play, so we have to ask ourselves, ‘Would this make Tempe a better place to live, work and play?’”

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