Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Now is the Right Time for Paid Sick Days

Last week, the Bloomberg News had an article that discussed whether now, right after the Great Recession, is the right time to implement paid sick days. Many are fearful that more regulations and the possibility of any more costs on businesses may infringe on whatever recovery has begun.

What also needs consideration is the amount businesses can save by implementing paid sick days through the reduction of turnover and limiting the spread of illness. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, if workers could earn seven paid sick days a year, our national economy would experience a net savings of $8.1 billion a year due to increased productivity and reduced turnover.

There is also the example of San Francisco, where paid sick days legislation is in effect and has shown that even during a recession, cities can benefit from earned sick time. While counties surrounding the city have seen higher rates of unemployment and less job growth, it seems clear that offering earned sick time has not proved detrimental to the San Francisco economy even during the recession. Even the Chamber of Commerce and Golden Gate Restaurant Association see the benefits of paid sick days:
In San Francisco, both the Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Gate Restaurant Assn. had similar qualms before its law took effect in 2007. Kevin Westlye, the association's executive director, says members assumed that, given the city's high minimum wage ($9.79) and mandated health insurance, paid sick leave was "strike three." The first two mandates still rankle, but paid sick days "is the best public policy for the least cost. Do you want your server coughing over your food?"

Studies and examples have shown that allowing people the flexibility to take care of themselves or loved ones when sick is not bad but can actually be good for business. Now, in fact, is the best time to take action.

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