When you get sick, you probably want to take time off from work in order to recover faster and prevent your sickness from spreading. When it comes to a family member who gets sick especially children you want to help them do the same. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows eligible workers to take unpaid time off when sick. Some places are expanding the rights of sick workers even further.
The city of Milwaukee tried to expand the rights of workers by mandating a certain number of paid sick days, but the Wisconsin state legislature overturned the City of Milwaukee’s ballot initiative. Though the move to expand workers’ rights in Wisconsin was defeated other areas of the country are trying to expand beyond the FMLA.
Currently, San Francisco and Washington D.C. have city laws that mandate paid sick leave, and Seattle and Denver may be soon to follow. Connecticut is the first state to pass mandatory paid sick leave legislation and Massachusetts may become the second state to do so.
Business advocacy groups and other critics of mandatory paid sick leave legislation say the laws impose a costly burden on employers and that employees use the time for things other than illness. Critics also say businesses that depend on low-wage labor like grocery stores and gas stations prefer flexible schedules instead of sick leave policies.
Supporters of paid sick leave legislation say the legislation protects workers, protects public health, increases the productivity of workers and reduces turnover. Supporters critique the critics and say critics should consider the savings to businesses in lower overall health care costs and workers who feel good enough to work their best.
Source: Forbes, “Paid sick day laws gather momentum,” Susan Adams, Sept. 15, 2011