A 2010 report by the World Health Organization (in the wake of H1N1) suggests that paid sick leave has benefits that far outweigh its costs in Europe. The benefits include:
- Access promptly medical care and the opportunity to follow treatment recommendations
- Recuperate more quickly
- Reduce the health impact on day-to-day functioning
- Prevent more series illnesses from developing
- Reduce the spreading of diseases to the workplace and community (p.6).
The WHO report suggests European costs are relatively low (averaging just under 200 Euros per year per capita), and paid sick leave is associated with greater productivity.
A US study examined the effect of sick leave mandates in several US cities and states on the number of private sector jobs. These proposals see workers accrue sick leave over time (kind of like; vacation entitlements). The upshot is that there appears to be effectively no impact on jobs numbers (i.e., sick is not a job-killing policy).
A separate study focused on New York’s employer paid sick leave mandate (which extended sick leave to millions of employees) also suggests paid sick leave is no big deal.
- Most employers experienced no cost increases and those who did (14%), the majority reports <3% change.
- More than 91% of employers reported no reduction in hiring
- 97% of employers indicated that they did not reduce hours
- 98% of employers reported virtually no abuse of sick leave and percentage of no-abuse reported was higher for small businesses.
- 96% reported either no decline or an increase in productivity.
Not providing sick leave, by contrast, is likely to increase in the spread of COVID (as workers come to work sick for fear of losing their jobs or not being able to pay their bills). In this way, Premier Kenney’s unwillingness to consider paid sick leave is a “worker killing” policy.
-- Bob Barnetson