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Paid sick time advocates lobby lawmakers

Supporters of requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to their workers were at the state Capitol lobbying lawmakers to adopt a bill if and when it’s presented to them.

A petition campaign is gathering signatures to put the question to the Legislature, or on the November ballot.

Danielle Atkinson is an organizer of the campaign. She says a lot of workers have a stake in the outcome.

“Over 40 percent of the (privately employed) Michigan workforce doesn’t have a single hour of earned sick time,” Atkinson said.

She says earned time off can be a health issue for the public at large, and people who don’t have paid time off are more likely to work through an illness.

“Going to a restaurant and coming in contact with a restaurant worker that doesn’t have any earned sick time can be extremely hazardous for the rest of us.”

Atkinson says the group expects to meet a June 1 deadline to submit the 252,523 petition signatures required. It’s set a goal of 350,000 signatures.

The campaign failed to meet a self-imposed January deadline.

The effort is opposed by business groups that say the government should not impose a new and potentially expensive mandate on employers.

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