Audit: D.C. Sick Days Law Doesn't Hurt Business, Must Be Strengthened

Jun 24, 2013

By Molly Fries

When you or your child are sick, the last thing you want to do is go to work.  Taking a day off can often be the difference between feeling healthy and productive and feeling terrible while risking the health of your coworkers.  Sadly, for many families, taking a day off isn't an option.

Without earned sick leave, workers stand to lose crucial income-or even their jobs.  Recently, more and more jurisdictions across the country, including Washington D.C., have recognized the devastating impact this has on families and passed laws giving employees the right to earn paid sick leave.

This week, the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor released an audit of the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act (ASSLA), D.C.'s earned sick days law. The audit, which was required by law, analyzed the effects of the Act, while also surveying compliance around the District.

The ASSLA guarantees earned sick leave for some employees who have worked for a company for over a year.  The law excludes tipped workers, which leaves many restaurant employees without coverage.

The Audit found that the percentage of employers reporting that they did not provide earned sick leave has dropped from 50 percent in 2007, the year before the Act was established, to only 31 percent in 2012. While this is a significant improvement, noncompliance is still shockingly high and, must be addressed both legislatively and through more aggressive enforcement.

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