There’s a need for paid sick leave [By Michael Kinsman] There are probably two good ways of looking at the concept of mandatory sick days for U.S. businesses.
The first is to look at this as a tremendous
The reason for this is because workers
The reluctance of some employers to grant
burden by American businesses, which
need it. Currently, sick time is granted by
paid time off for sick employees means that
will have to absorb the economic impact of
employers who think it’s a good idea. Only
those employers could face even higher
additional time off by their employees.
about half the nation’s private industry
incidents of unscheduled absences because
workers have sick leave with pay.
common diseases spread so easily.
Meanwhile, about 59 million others need it.
Will mandatory sick time cost business
The second is to look at this as a justifiable and necessary accommodation for American
more? Yes, but it is an unavoidable cost.
workers. Workers get sick unexpectedly and they Both views probably have merit. If you haven’t heard of mandatory sick days
suffer injuries at home in the off hours.
Among business organizations there is a
There is no way of guaranteeing that you can
tendency to immediately oppose minimum
avoid illness or injury in our society.
wage increases and mandatory health care for workers. Mandatory sick leave will be
laws yet, you will in the near future. The city of San Francisco has an ordinance going into
A lot of other countries have already
opposed, too, when legislation is starting to
effect that will require large employers to
recognized that. In 2004, a Harvard University
be drawn up.
provide up to nine days of paid sick leave.
study reported that 139 countries provide
Employers with less than 10 employees will
paid leave for short-term or long-term
But the only reason minimum wage laws
have to offer five paid sick days.
exist and the only reason mandatory health
Other cities are expected to consider similar
There is a lot of talk today about
laws and U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-
presenteeism, the tendency for workers to
Mass., had put paid sick leave on the agenda
show up for their work assignments when
Mandatory sick leave might take years or
of the Senate Health Education Labor and
they are sick or too stressed to actually do
decades to build to that point, but it definitely
Pensions Committee that he shares.
will at some point.
That certainly doesn’t guarantee that sick
When sick workers with colds or influenza
time legislation will spread like a wildfire,
show up in the office, they often spread
but at least it’s now entered the national
illnesses to co-workers, exacerbating the
care exists is because society deems them
Published on Dec 21, 2012
If you haven't heard of mandatory sick days laws yet, you will in the near future. The city of San Francisco has an ordinance going into eff...