Controversy Over Paid Sick Leave Rights
The controversy continues over whether legislation should be enacted requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees. From employees’ perspective, without paid sick leave, they put themselves at financial risk when they stay home from work due to illness or when caring for sick children. Low-income workers are particularly vulnerable to financial hardship from loss of income due to lack of paid sick leave. On the other side, many employers and business lobbyist are concerned about whether American businesses can afford to provide sick time to all employees.
Many cities already have mandatory paid sick leave ordinances including Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., as well as the state of Connecticut. In Seattle, the sick leave ordinance, which went into effect in September 2012, covers employees working full-time, part-time, or doing temporary work within the city limit of Seattle.
Those opposed to mandatory paid sick leave for workers assert that paid sick leave is bad for the American economy. Business lobbyists and other opponents to mandatory sick leave fear that many American businesses would be unable to remain in business or continue to create new jobs if required to offer a minimum number of earned sick leave to workers. Additionally, they are concerned about employee abuse of sick leave days.
Proponents of mandatory paid sick leave argue that job loss and financial hardship suffered by employees without paid sick leave weakens our economy and costs taxpayers in the form of increased health and social services. In addition, sick employees who go into work may spread illness to other employees, thereby reducing overall company productivity.
While some opponents feel that mandatory paid sick leave will result in employees abusing this privilege by taking days off when they are not sick, a study of the paid sick leave ordinance in San Francisco contradicts this claim. This study on San Francisco’s paid sick leave policy, which went into effect in 2007, concluded that employees rarely misused their sick leave. In fact, most employees did not even use all of their sick days. In addition, the majority of San Francisco employers report they experienced little if any negative effects from the sick leave ordinance. A similar study in Connecticut showed that the state’s policy requiring employers to provide five paid sick days only cost employers 0.4% of their annual sales revenues on average.
In light of the evidence pointing to the advantages of paid sick leave to both employees and employers, many other states, including Washington and Maryland, are considering mandatory paid sick leave legislation as well as several cities including Philadelphia and Portland.
Even if your employer does not provide paid sick leave, if you have suffered an injury on the job, you may be eligible to paid sick leave and financial compensation for your injuries through a worker’s compensation claim or lawsuit. Before filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to consult with an attorney who is experienced in workers’ compensation cases. The Washington workers’ compensation attorneys at Phillips Law Firm have helped countless injured employees receive the compensation they deserved. Call us today at 1-800-708-6000 for a free workers’ compensation case evaluation.