By Brian Castrucci
Dear Mr. Bezos,
You’ve got one heck of decision to make. Choosing the location for Amazon’s second headquarters is surely complex. Between some 200 cities vying for your attention and the potential impact on people and jobs, I’m sure you are really busy right about now. According to your specifications, the “winning” city will be the proud recipient of some 50,000 new jobs and a five billion dollar capital expenditure. Those same specifications say you are looking for tax incentives, access to an international airport, quality high education and several other core criterions that typically make sense for business.
But, you can’t divorce the health of your company from that of the surrounding community where your employees will live, raise their families, and educate their children. For all the tax credits and other incentives being thrown your way, how many of those suitors have discussed their community’s health? Did any of them discuss their success in reducing absenteeism from illness, or how their investment in their community’s health might help lower your health insurance premiums? It’s probably none or not many at best. This is where I think I might be able to help. Mr Bezos, I want to introduce you to CityHealth.
CityHealth is a package of policies that experts say can help millions of people live longer, healthier lives in vibrant, prosperous communities. Not only does it identify specific policies, but it also scores many of the cities vying for your attention based on their commitment to health and wellness.
Let’s take a look…
Paid sick leave. Did you know that while 93% of people in management, business, and financial positions report having paid sick leave, only 46% of workers in the service industry have this benefit? These are the folks we interact with every day, the wait staff at lunch, the grocery clerk, those with whom your employees will share public transportation. If they are sick at work, they can make your employees sick. The spread of communicable illness – like the flu – is easily prevented through social isolation when infectious (which is just a fancy way of saying, “Stay home!”). But, it’s hard to do that if it might mean not making your rent or providing food for your children.