Over 40 million American workers receive no paid sick leave. These individuals must work when ill or take unpaid days off, which can cause financial hardship, and, sometimes, dismissal. As a recent editorial in the New York Times argues, “the best way to address this workplace and public health problem is with a national law requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave — a normal benefit for workers in at least 145 countries.”
Since it doesn’t seem likely that Washington will make any headway on this issue in the near future, New York City is taking up the cause, and just proposed a law that would require sick leave for more than 1.2 million workers in the city.
Yet Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, will not bring a bill to the floor, right now, arguing that it is poor timing given the shaky economy; she states that the benefit could cause workers compensation costs for businesses to go up by an average of 1.5 percent, which may in turn hurt smaller companies. Other businesses claim that companies will cut jobs if even a few sick days are required.
Little evidence to support such fears has been seen in San Francisco, Seattle, the District of Columbia and the state of Connecticut, which now require many businesses to provide the benefit. There are also economic benefits — lower turnover, higher productivity and morale, and reduced job loss for workers.
Connecticut’s law, for example, requires sick leave for most businesses with 50 or more employees. This benefit is seen by many labor experts as good for public health. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that workers who were allowed to take sick leave instead of working while ill were less likely to be hurt on the job.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
American workers should have paid sick leave, and New York City could set a standard for the rest of the nation. Everyone deserves sensible and compassionate sick-leave benefits now.
If you suffer from a workplace injury or occupational disease, the Seattle Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of Emery Reddy can help you manage the claim process with administrators at Washington labor and industries. Many workers also rely on us for expert legal representation when they face a denied L&I claim, or need a third party claim attorney. Contact our L&I Attorneys today for a free consultation.