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Paid Sick Times Act: Does it Make Sense?

August 7, 2012

Demanding Sick Days in Queens. Image courtesy of ©Queens Beat.

A flu or child’s cold cost one million people in NYC a day’s pay…and for some it can cost them their job. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between their health and their job. If the The Paid Sick Time Act in New York City would pass it would give 1.5 million New Yorkers access to a small number of paid sick days to use to care for themselves or a sick child. It has a veto-proof majority of support on City Council, but Council Speaker Christine Quinn refuses to bring the bill to a vote.

Worried about how this bill might affect businesses in these difficult times?

From Business Week, “A 2011 Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) study based on surveys of 727 employers and 1,194 employees in San Francisco found that the effects were generally positive. Six out of seven employers reported no negative effects on profitability, and most said the new legislation had proven easy to implement.

Employees, it was found, rarely misused sick days, and—despite the availability of either five or nine sick days (depending on the size of the business)—the typical worker used only three. One quarter of employees used zero. Parents with paid sick days were also 20 percent less likely to send a child with a contagious disease to school than parents without the benefit.

In 2010, the Partnership for New York City, which represents the city’s biggest employers, released a report (PDF) estimating that paid sick leave could cost employers nearly $800 million annually. A forthcoming IWPR cost-benefit analysis of implementing mandated sick days in New York contradicts these findings. The report, which will come out within weeks, says the bill would likely cause New York businesses to expend an additional $283 million in terms of lost productivity, but that businesses would gain an offsetting $287 million, largely due to savings from reduced turnover. The IWPR also found that the New York metro area would save about $41 million annually on health-care expenses because of reduced emergency care and fewer virus outbreaks.”

Convinced that NYC needs to pass the Paid Sick Time Act? Then, sign and share this petition asking Quinn to stop blocking the bill.

San Francisco, Washington DC and Seattle and the state of Connecticut have passed paid sick days legislation – NYC should be right up there!