Experts Agree: Paid Sick Leave Works for Employees, Businesses

Paid sick leave is a good deal for employers, too.

A diverse range of stakeholders at a recent Aspen Institute panel agreed that an employee with paid time off when they’re ill leads to increased productivity, better health and a more stable family life.

Currently, over 40 million Americans don’t have paid sick leave. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid sick leave for some workers, but many can’t afford to lose their paychecks.

Click here to watch video of the panel, entitled, “Time to Care: A Discussion on Improving Paid Leave Policies for Workers, Businesses and Our Economy.”

Makini Howell, a Seattle restaurant owner, said she began providing paid sick leave even before Seattle began requiring it in 2012. “It’s only half a percent of your bottom line,” and “it helps your retention” of workers, she said.

Since January 1, paid sick day laws have passed or taken effect in Washington, DC; Portland, OR; Newark, NJ; and Jersey City, NJ. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has already announced plans to expand the city’s paid sick day law, which is set to take effect in April.

Alison Earle, a senior research scientist at Brandeis University, said providing paid sick leave actually decreases the number of days employees are absent.

“Without paid sick days, people delay treatment. They go to work when they’re sick,” Earle said. “They are sick longer. They are out of work longer.”

At least 163 other countries have paid sick leave, and California has had mandated paid family leave since 2004.

Click here to learn more about the movement to guarantee paid sick leave for all workers.