The COVID-19 pandemic drew public attention to the importance of paid sick leave for workers and public health.
While most essential businesses offered temporary paid sick leave during the first year of the pandemic, many have since withdrawn this benefit.
Today, more than 26 million people in the private sector have no access to paid sick days, including seven in 10 of the lowest-wage workers. Minority workers, part-time, and service-industry workers are especially unlikely to have access to paid sick leave.
In addition to the clear benefits to employees and their families, Praxis Mutual Funds® believes the positives of paid sick leave extend to the businesses themselves. Companies providing paid sick days to their employees tend to experience less turnover and fewer health related business disruptions, especially in lower-wage industries.
Tight labor markets have significantly increased competition for workers, making paid sick time a valuable recruiting and retention tool for employers. And the recent COVID-19 pandemic has made clients and business managers highly aware of the dangers fast spreading illness can have on business operations.
In the past several months, Praxis has filed shareholder proposals and engaged companies in dialogue on paid sick leave. Here are some examples:
- Home Depot: Co-filed proposal asking the company to adopt and publicly disclose a policy that all employees accrue some amount of paid sick leave; the proposal was withdrawn after investors met with the company and it put public paid sick leave policies in place.
- Kroger: Co-filed proposal encouraging Kroger to make paid sick leave policies permanent and not specific to the COVID-19 pandemic; the proposal was withdrawn after the company agreed to continue enhanced PSL policies and publicly disclose them.
- Best Buy: Held productive dialogue with Best Buy on its paid sick leave policies; investors will follow-up with communication and encourage increased paid sick leave.
- FedEx: Dialogue with FedEx on paid sick leave policies; investors learned more about how the company handles paid sick leave but encouraged better disclosure as a first step.
- The ODP Corporation (owns Office Depot and OfficeMax brands): Dialogue with ODP; the company has a public paid sick leave policy and investors are continuing to encourage more disclosure and deeper policies.
Praxis will continue to support efforts on paid sick leave to build a more equitable world, protect business stability and care for the least among us.
Home Depot, Kroger, Best Buy and FedEx are held in the Praxis Value Index Fund. Home Depot is also held in the Praxis Growth Index Fund and the Praxis Impact Bond Fund. The ODP Corporation is held in the Praxis Small Cap Index Fund.