When the City Council's HHS & PS Committee first reviewed the ordinance back in November of 2017, we raised several concerns, questions, and requests for information, but we have yet to make any changes to the ordinance.
The HHS & PS Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed paid sick leave ordinance next week on Tuesday, April 24th at 5:30pm in Council Chambers at City Hall. All members of the public are encouraged to attend and share their views on the proposed ordinance. (If you're curious about how the public comment period will work, check out Public Comment 101: Testifying on Paid Sick Leave.)
People who are unable to attend the meeting or who prefer to submit written comments may send their thoughts to members of the committee (Councilor Batson, Councilor Ali, and Councilor Ray) or other councilors at any time. (You can find everyone's addresses on the council contact information page. An email the City Clerk will be forwarded to all councilors.)
After the April 24, 2018 public hearing, at the committee's next meeting on May 8th, city staff will present the answers to the questions the committee raised back in November, along with any new requests for information that may come out of the public hearing.
After that, I expect we will have several more meetings dedicated to discussing this issue and ensuring that the committee is well-informed with views from employees and employers as well as information from staff about everything from typical Human Resources policies to cost impacts and best practices in other cities.
Both the Chamber of Commerce and Portland Buy Local have conducted surveys of their members to help determine the impact a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance would have on businesses in Portland, and that information will be a very important part of the conversation.
The Southern Maine Workers' Center and the Maine Women's Lobby, two organizations who worked together to bring the proposed ordinance forward to the Council, continue to provide information and answers to questions as well, and their information will also be reviewed by the committee during this process.
I expect that our further examination of the ordinance, which will include making changes to the original proposed language, will span several weeks. I currently have our meetings through July 10, 2018 slated to be focused primarily on this issue, although I'm aware it could stretch into the fall, especially if we are interrupted in our process by other issues that require our attention, such as planning and design for the city's new emergency shelter.
Toward the end of the process, if/when the committee reaches a point where it is ready to make a recommendation to the full council, we will have another public hearing before making any final decisions.
You can keep track of the process by viewing the agendas and minutes of the HHS & PS committee.
We have a really great administrative assistant to the committee, so during this process the minutes will do a great job of reflecting the discussions at the meetings. Of course, nothing can substitute for witnessing the conversation first hand. To that end, all of our meetings are live-streamed and captured for future viewing. The link for HHS & PS committee live streams is available on the HHS & PS committee page.
I hope this information is useful in helping people to follow and participate in this process.