Pest Control – Is your Technician In Good Health Today?

California is at a decision point. Our health care system simply doesn’t meet the needs of our citizens. Employers are not always helpful. By providing a minimum sick time benefit, employees who are sick, can stay home, rest up and get back to work in short order. But many California employers refuse to provide minimum sick pay or have long waits for employees to qualify for sick pay. (Vacation pay is often not even heard of). As a result, workers who face the choice between meeting basic financial needs, or sustaining the wrath of an unsupportive employer for requesting time off to rest up from colds, flu, infections and other ailments or communicable diseases, will out of necessity and employer pressure, put off health care and come in to work. At work, the sick employee then becomes dangerous to other workers and customers, spread illness and potential disease. Pest control work is often hazardous. It certainly is rigorous and exhausting work. The technician is often fighting weather conditions and both interior and exterior conditions that present potential dangers to health. The best technicians and the best companies follow practices that minimize or eliminate these dangers, so that the worker can help you, rather than make a situation worse than it already is.

California Ma’s Bill AB 2716

A bill has been introduced in California (AB 2716) by Fiona Ma, State Assemblywoman that would guarantee a minimum sick time benefit for full time California workers.

Hearts Pest Management Supports AB 2716, Basic Sick Pay for the Health of our California Workforce

I believe that this sick time benefit is as critical or more critical than minimum wages. The typical wage earner today has a hard time paying bills. Most are not prepared for a sudden illness and are simply not ready to manage their finances during periods of illness, not to mention paying for medical care, when there is no support in place to help with the rising cost of medical care. Being able to take time off and get care preventativly and expeditiously, before a medical condition gets worse is critical. The last thing you want is for a sick pest control technician to be knocking on your door, perhaps coming into your house and spreading an illness to your family. Should the provision of sick pay be an independent matter for each employer to choose? Long ago, as a society, we decided that a minimum wage was a must for the general societal good. With rising health care costs and statistics that prove the value of preventative care and early intervention, it is time to support a full time workers right to a sick day. There wouldn’t be a need for legislation if employers did the right thing and the smart thing. But they don’t and they won’t help their workers as we expect in this day and age.

Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC) Opposes AB 2716

But Hearts Pest Management Speaks Out!

I have always believed that pest control workers should be encouraged to view themselves as professionals, to strive to achieve higher levels of professional expertise, but owners do not see it that way. On March 22, 2008, the Pest Control Operators of California met to review and express support or opposition to items on the legislative agenda for Californians. In a room filled with hundreds of pest control company owners and senior managers, representing hundreds of small, medium and large pest control companies, not one was willing to support AB 2716, except Hearts Pest Management! Hearts Pest Management is the only company in the state of California to stand up and officially support AB 2716. For us, the legislation would have no impact, since our benefit levels exceed that of AB 2716. The body of the following letter was addressed to the Pest Control Operators of California to express my concern for California workers and the value of supporting this legislation. Pest control operators, (may I say, no more or less than most other industries), are not going to support this legislation.

By Caring for the Health of our Workers, You Know We Care About You!

But you can express your feelings by supporting the one company, Hearts Pest Management, that is taking a stand for California workers. Please express your support to your legislator or assembly-person for passage of AB 2716 that will provide a minimum sick pay benefit to full time California workers.
Just to state my position for the record here: 1. It is bogus for Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC) members to state that they cannot support this legislation due to the bad economy. They would not support this legislation in a good economy. 2. Healthy employees mean fewer accidents. 3. Fewer accidents means reduced premiums. 4. Fewer accidents means more production. 5. Employee sick time means more employee preventive health care and fewer long term ailments. 6. Our work is very hard and the work often causes us to get sick, yet the illness is not eligible for workmen’s comp. 7. On a higher plane of reasoning, does a full time worker in this day and age deserve a sick time benefit. 8. Better benefits (in this case, pretty basic benefits), helps keep workers and talent in the industry. As a side note, when I attended Pest World 2007, I had the opportunity to visit 3 established pest control companies. One was xxxxxxx Pest Control. I was very impressed with their operation. It was very well organized and clean. They really seemed to have their act together. But when someone asked them about their compensation plan, they stated they paid strictly by commission and that they did not offer sick time. I was surprised that the white collar manager, who I’m sure had a sick time benefit, stated, that they pay only for what the worker produces and that ‘if you give them sick time, they’ll take it.’ It’s really quite pitiful that we have so little faith in our workers and care so little about them. If you talk with my workers, many of them will tell you that they will never leave me. They are loyal and hard working and I have greatly benefited by the contrast between how I treat my workers compared to common practice in the industry. My last open question: Is PCOC strictly an organization for owners/operators and senior managers, with our narrow, short term interests at heart, or are we here to provide a broader umbrella to support and upgrade the professionalism of our workers. Sincerely, Gerry Weitz: For more information about “Ma’s Bill” AB2716, here are a few websites, with supporting information about the value of a guaranteed sick pay benefit. Labor Project for Working Families Summary of Ma’s Bill for a sick pay benefit Support Paid Sick Days California Progress Report Take time to visit the Pest Control Operators of California. While Hearts disagrees with the position of PCOC on the issue of sick pay, the organization is a good organization with a generally positive impact. For example, the local chapter of PCOC is a regular donor to Becky’s House for abused women. Local leadership has also contributed to worker safety by the development of fall protection procedures.
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