In the coast-to-coast battle over whether or not we should have laws requiring paid sick days, Kate Karpilow has two things to tell you. One, she has someone at home with congestive heart failure – so picking up the flu from a pharmacy clerk is a really bad idea. And two, if you’re worried about the economic implications of a minimum paid sick days standard, you shouldn’t be:
Business groups claim that paid sick days laws are “job killers” that will lead to exorbitant business expenses, job losses and damage to the economy.
In California, the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation claims a statewide paid sick days requirement would result in the loss of 370,000 jobs and would cost businesses $63.9 billion in expenses and lost sales.
A business group called the Partnership for New York City recently released a study predicting a paid sick days ordinance would cost Big Apple businesses at least $789 million.
Proponents of paid sick days critique these scary statistics as inflated and methodologically flawed estimates and point to the real life success in San Francisco where a paid sick days ordinance has been operating for nearly four years.
Kevin Westlye, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, estimates that the cost of paid sick days for his members has been 40-45 cents an hour per employee, resulting in some “belt tightening” for restaurants and some minor shift changes for employees. But there have been no major lay-offs or restaurant closures attributed to paid sick days.
And, according to Westlye, there has been no rash of reports that employees are abusing the benefit, taking sick leave for sports events or social engagements.
Moreover, research by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy has shown that after adoption of the paid sick days ordinance, San Francisco County’s labor market performed better than surrounding counties that did not require leave.