Last year, a research group based out of Philadelphia studied the effects of paid sick leave on company productivity and cost efficiency. Their conclusion was resolute and definite: paid sick leave is a must for almost all companies. This research study has been made all the more poignant with the President’s recent state of the Union address earlier this week. No evidence exists to prove that paid sick leave decreases productivity scores for either individual employees or enterprises. In fact, mounting evidence increasingly shows that the opposite is true. However, two misguided state senators from the very same state, Pennsylvania, continue to argue against this clear, scientific evidence. Senators John Eichelberger, R for Blair/Huntington/Fulton/Franklin/Cumberland counties and Lisa Boscola, D for Lehigh/Northampton counties have announced their plans to introduce a state paid sick leave law that would explicitly prohibit local authorities to pass ordinances on the matter. Our new post will examine sick leave as a whole and how these PA State Senators Announce Bill to Stop Paid Sick Leave.
The Pennsylvania Case Against Paid Sick Leave
At the time that we wrote this article, per the recommendations from the aforementioned researchers, Philadelphia planned to implement mandatory paid sick leave. However, the bill announced by the two Senators would maintain and complicate the status quo. Currently, paid sick leave in Pennsylvania and all of its municipalities lies in the hands of employers. They can choose to award it or not on the grounds of suspicion of sick leave abuse.
Remuneration for sick leave recently became an issue of growing concern in the United States as of late. Numerous workers’ rights advocacy groups maintained the argument that the adoption of a pro-paid sick leave law is necessary for the rights of employees across the country. They argue that not passing these laws could cause serious public health risks for the population at large. Understandably, few workers would willingly choose to lose their wage for a day and show up for work instead. Working while sick puts all of their colleagues at risk. The research study found that a lack of paid sick leave caused many employers to lose productivity in the long run. Current laws in this country allow for discrepancies between cities. Some employees fear that a business may relocate to a city where paid sick leave is not mandatory, thus causing the original city to lose a percentage of tax base and witness an economic downturn. Once again, the research study found that this view was more of a myth. Plenty of liberal cities which force employers to pay for sick leave (such as San Francisco) continue to retain companies and attract increasing business.
We could easy to extrapolate the above situation to the national level. If one state makes sick leave compulsory and another one doesn’t, as is the case with Pennsylvania, will the economy of the state with the humanitarian legislation lose a percentage of tax revenue. The announced bill from Eichelberger and Boscola would prevent legislation which forces employers to pay for sick leave (excluding the items already covered by the Pennsylvania labor law). Under this law, any city that tries to pass laws enforcing paid leave would be effectively struck down by this state law. Ten U.S. states have already passed laws against paid sick leave. Most of these state only offer a minimum protection to their workers. Of course, Pennsylvania readers who oppose the two senators’ legislative initiative can always express their dissent with the upcoming bill by voting both Eichelberger and Boscola out of office next election. State elections in Pennsylvania are always direct elections. And, if you feel that these two haven’t represented your best interests, you would be well within your rights to take their jobs away from them.
Does Paid Sick Leave Really Hurt Employers?
Not much evidence exists to support the claim that paying for sick leave hampers productivity or causes unwarranted expenses. In fact, mounting evidence points to the opposite: paying workers for their time off to recover is important for both the employee and the employer. A Bell Policy Center report shows that, in the long run, employers stand to save quite a bit of money by remunerating workers for the time they spend at home recuperating from an illness. Employers may save money in the short term by not paying for sick leave. But, when that employee shows up to work and spreads the influenza to the rest of your staff, productivity inevitably decreases. The same poll shows that over 70 percent of San Francisco-based employers saw no negative effects (or negligible negative effects) stemming from the application of the local law to enforce paid sick leave. Conversely, employees in this area gained an invaluable tool to protect them from abuse at the hands of their employers.
The sole argument made against companies paying for sick leave is that some workers may feign illness in order to stay at home and collect a paycheck. Not only has this turned out to be a marginal phenomenon, but paying for sick leave has been shown to maintain normal productivity levels throughout the course of a year.
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