A Denver ballot initiative on requiring employers to offer paid sick leave has drawn a painful divide between small-business owners and their own employees.
Denver's Initiative 300, decided in an all-mail election Tuesday, would allow private employees and city workers to earn up to 72 hours of paid sick leave, depending on the size of the business. For many, it raises the question over whether the issue is a common-sense public-health concern or one that will force restaurants out of business.
City officials have said the sick-leave initiative would cost $690,500 a year to enforce the law and pay part-time city workers who now can't take sick leave — an estimate disputed by supporters of the measure. Low-wage employees who say they can't afford to stay home when they're sick, raising public health concerns, especially in the food service industry.