Are mandatory paid sick days a good idea? Study says 'yes'

Should companies be forced to provide paid sick leave? The results of a new report suggest there are two good reasons to implement the proposed requirement: It would improve employee health and disease prevention.
The study, A Health Impact Assessment of Paid Sick Days, was commissioned by the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition and funded by the Family Values at Work, an alliance of labor organizations in 15 states. It was released by Rutgers University’s Center for Women and Work.
It suggests that public-health hazards, like influenza, have decreased in areas where employers offer paid sick leave, such as San Francisco.

  • More people are able to comply with public health guidelines for controlling influenza or pandemic flu
  • Workers who don’t have access to paid sick days are more likely to go to work sick and are more likely to send a sick child to school, and
  • Providing paid sick days would reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses from restaurants, healthcare and daycare facilities, and other community settings — because fewer workers in facilities like that would come to work sick.

Food-preparation workers are currently the group least likely to receive paid sick leave, according to the study.
The findings of the study are sure to be mentioned in part of the debate over whether or not the federal Healthy Families Act should be passed. The legislation contains a stipulation that would require companies with more than 15 employees to provide paid sick leave for their workers.
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