If you have earned any sort of college degree and are employed by a reputable company, you probably have paid sick leave. If you have a skill that is in high demand, you probably receive paid sick leave. Finally, if you are a corporate executive, civil servant, judge or politician, you probably receive paid sick leave. If fact, to place paid sick time in perspective, consider that a record number of private-sector workers (71 percent) have access to paid sick days, according to July 2018 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, 34.2 million US workers still cannot earn paid sick time to recover from illness, care for a sick family member, or seek preventive care according to Sarah Fleisch Fink.
This is another case of the haves vs. the have nots! Everyone who is against paid sick leave for those who need it receive paid sick leave benefits. Business owners, judges and legislators should all be ashamed for denying this life altering assistance to those who would derive the greatest value. Twenty-two states have passed preemption laws preventing localities from requiring employers to provide paid sick time. These include four states that concurrently passed statewide laws that prohibit localities from establishing paid-sick-days requirements that differ from existing state standards. A mounting preemption effort in Texas, which contends that San Antonio’s paid-sick-days laws passed in the state place businesses in those jurisdictions at a competitive disadvantage relative to businesses located in jurisdictions that do not require them, is emblematic of the case for preemption in other states. Proponents of preemption in Texas also claim that the Austin ordinance disadvantages working families who require a dual income, live within city limits, and employ caretakers for their children while at work.
The fortunate are always profiting on the backs of the less fortunate. I had a client who calculated company incentive pay as a percentage of base salary. Those who made more received higher incentive payments. When the owners decided they could no longer pay for employee healthcare they had to devise a method to calculate how much employees should contribute. The organization decided that contributions should be based on the size of an employee’s family. Employees with larger families would pay more. Lower salaried employees received less incentive pay but their healthcare contribution could be twice that of a highly paid executive.
It is time that these decisions are based on facts and evidenced based research! There is a moderate but growing body of evidence on the impacts of paid sick time. There have been no less than 23 peer reviewed studies dating from 2008 to 2018. Evidence from those studies suggests that implementation of paid-sick-days laws are not overly burdensome on employers, and access to paid sick time lowers rates of workers attending work while sick. Consensus is growing about the beneficial health impacts of access to paid sick time. Isn’t it about time that we truly value each other and do the right thing?