Paid Sick Days
The nation has entered an exciting new era that will allow millions of lower-wage workers to access health care insurance. Tragically, many of these workers will be unable to take advantage of this historic new benefit because they cannot take time off of work to get the care they need due to lack of paid sick days. As part of its work life and job quality work, CLASP advocates for state and federal paid sick days policies that will allow more workers to take time off when they need to tend to their own or a family member's health.
Feb 3, 2016 | PERMALINK »
Don’t be Fooled: Paid Sick Time Laws Don’t Cost Jobs
This month, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) published misleading claims that the Healthy Families Act (HFA), proposed federal paid sick days legislation, will negatively affect employment. In claiming that the HFA will lead businesses to cut jobs, NIFB’s report disregards empirical evidence from jurisdictions that already have sick days laws. These laws have not caused job cuts; in fact, researchers have found that in some cases, jurisdictions with paid sick days laws are growing jobs faster than neighboring jurisdictions without them.
The NFIB report claims the HFA would cost the U.S. economy 430,000 jobs over a 10-year period. However, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City—cities with established paid sick days standards—have boasted booming economies. In the first year Seattle’s ordinance was in effect, total employment in the city grew at a rate comparable to that of four comparator cities without paid sick days laws. Similarly, San Francisco has experienced faster employment growth (or slower declines during the Great Recession) than surrounding counties without paid sick days laws. And in New York City, nine months after the law took effect, the city’s unemployment rate was at its lowest level in six years. Further, the labor force participation rate was the highest on record and private industry had added over 91,000 jobs. The evidence is clear: economies stay strong with paid sick days laws.
NFIB’s calculations also ignore cost savings for employers providing paid sick days. Businesses with paid sick days save money through reduced turnover, reduced “presenteeism” (in which a sick worker comes in but cannot work at full capacity), and reduced spread of infection to additional employees. A cost-benefit analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research concluded that HFA would produce net savings for employers. NFIB’s claims simply don’t hold up to scrutiny.
Business owners across the country support paid sick days laws, recognizing the benefits to both workers and the bottom line. For example, Keith Mestrich, president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, said: “We want our customers to work for employers that support their economic security and enable them to be their best at work and at home… Amalgamated Bank supports legislation in our home state of New York, across the country, and at the federal level to ensure that our customers, and all Americans, have the paid sick days they need for a chance at financial stability.” Makini Howell, a Seattle restaurateur, explained the need for legislation: “Seventy-eight percent of people working in the restaurant industry do not earn a single paid sick day. And I understand it can be hard for a restaurant owner to go out on a limb and provide sick days when it’s not the industry standard. A paid sick days law sets a level playing field.”
In its press release announcing the report, NFIB states that “small business owners want to treat their employees fairly[.]” The HFA would accomplish just that, allowing workers across the country to seek preventive care, recover from illness, or care for their loved ones without losing pay. Evidence from jurisdictions with paid sick days laws already in place shows that businesses continue to thrive when their workers earn paid sick days. NFIB’s report will only fuel public criticisms that, rather than representing the voices of small business owners, the group prioritizes the interests of large corporations. In this case, NFIB simply hasn’t followed the evidence. The Healthy Families Act is just good business.
- Zoe Ziliak Michel | Feb 03, 2016 Don't be Fooled: Paid Sick Time Laws Don’t Cost Jobs
- Zoe Ziliak Michel | Jan 29, 2016 The Business Benefits of Paid Sick Time
- Zoe Ziliak Michel | Jan 29, 2016 The Healthy Families Act: A Detailed Review for Businesses
- Zoe Ziliak Michel | Jan 29, 2016 The Healthy Families Act: A Fact Sheet for Businesses
- Felicia J. Onuma | Apr 15, 2015 One year later, the results of Jersey City’s Earned Sick Days law are promising
- Zoe Ziliak Michel | Jan 28, 2016 The Healthy Families Act: A Detailed Review for Businesses
- Zoe Ziliak Michel | Jan 28, 2016 The Business Benefits of Paid Sick Time
- Sep 02, 2015 Getting Down to Business: News on Employers, Paid Leave and Job Scheduling September 2015
- Liz Ben Ishai and Alex Wang | May 12, 2015 Paid Leave Necessary for an Ounce of Prevention: Paid Leave and Access to Preventive Health Care
- Kisha Bird, Anna Cielinski, Judy Mortrude, and David Socolow | Apr 17, 2015 Promoting Economic and Career Success for Low-Income Youth and Adults: A Preview of Key Provisions in the Proposed WIOA Regulations