Sick pay

Sick leave (or paid sick days or sick pay) is time off from work that workers can use during periods of temporary illness to stay home and address their health and safety needs without losing pay. Some workplaces offer paid sick time as a matter of workplace policy, and in few jurisdictions it is codified into law. Currently, states around the United States are considering legislation that would require access to paid sick days for workers.

Introduction

Paid sick days (also referred to as sick leave or paid sick leave) guarantee workers paid time off to stay home when they are sick. Some policies also allow paid sick time to be used to care for sick family members, to attend routine doctor or medical appointments, or to address health and safety needs related to domestic violence or sexual assault.

At least 145 countries ensure access to paid sick days for short- or long-term illnesses, with 127 providing a week or more annually.[1]

An analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds that around 39 percent of American workers in the private sector do not have paid sick leave.[2] Around 79 percent of workers in low-wage industries do not have paid sick time.[3] Most food service and hotel workers (78 percent) lack paid sick days.[4]

One survey reports that 77 percent of Americans believe that having paid sick days is "very important" for workers.[5] Some workers report that they or a family member have been fired or suspended for missing work due to illness.[6]

There is also the controversial issue of some employees taking a paid day off as a Mental health day.

Potential benefits of paid sick leave

Paid sick leave advocates assert that providing paid sick time can reduce turnover, increase productivity, and reduce the spread of contamination in the workplace.[7]

Some research has shown that parents who have access to paid sick leave are more likely to take time away from work to care for their sick kids,[8] and other research finds that most children recover faster from illness when cared for by their parents.[9] However, 53 percent of working mothers and 48 percent of working fathers don’t have paid sick days to care for children.[10] Without paid time off, workers may be forced to send sick children to school where they spread illness and experience negative short- and long-term health outcomes.[11] The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asks workers to stay at home if they are sick and to keep sick kids out of school.[12] During the 2009 H1N1 crisis, the CDC recommended that anyone with flu-like symptoms remain at home.[13] According to a report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, more than 8 million workers went to their jobs while sick between September and November 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic.[14]

Nearly seven in ten workers (68 percent) report they have gone to work with the stomach flu or other contagious disease.[6] Nearly half reported that they went to work sick because they could not afford to lose the pay.[15] Thirty percent of workers report they contracted the flu from a colleague.[16]

In addition to their colleagues, workers who choose to go to work sick may risk passing the illness to customers. The Food and Drug Administration guidelines recommend that workers with norovirus-related illnesses work on a restricted basis until 24 hours after symptoms subside.[17] Nearly half of outbreaks caused by the stomach flu are linked to ill food-service workers.[18] In 2008, health officials said a sick employee at a Chipotle restaurant in Kent, Ohio might have caused an outbreak resulting in over 500 people becoming violently ill.[19] The outbreak cost the Kent community between $130,233 and $305,337 in lost wages, lost productivity, and health care costs.[20]

Paid sick leave can also reduce the risk of occupational injuries, especially in high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture and health care. One study found that workers with access to paid sick leave were 28% less likely than those without to experience workplace injuries.[21]

Economic considerations

Some studies show that the cost of losing an employee (which can include advertising for, interviewing, and training a replacement) is often greater than the cost of providing sick days to retain existing employees. One brief suggests the average cost of turnover is 25 percent of an employee's total annual compensation.[22]

Presenteeism costs the U.S. economy $180 billion annually in lost productivity. For employers, this costs an average of $255 per employee per year and exceeds the cost of absenteeism and medical and disability benefits.[23] For workers in the foodservice industry, one analysis found that foodborne illness outbreak for a chain restaurant – including negative public opinion, which affects other operations in a metropolitan area – can be up to $7 million.[24]

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that the average cost of sick leave per employee hour worked is 23 cents and the cost per service worker is 8 cents.[25] Additional research by advocates for a policy has suggested that paid sick days could lead to savings of $1.17 per worker per week for employers.[26]

Many studies have looked at the economic well-being of the city of San Francisco after they passed their sick leave policy in 2004.[27] The research finds that (including other external factors) San Francisco outperformed its neighboring counties in terms of job growth in the years after its sick leave program went into effect – even during the recent recession.[28]

Opposition to a paid sick day mandate

Opponents of a workplace mandate assert that employers should offer paid sick days at their own discretion. They say employers best understand the benefit preferences of their employees and must maintain flexibility to meet the unique needs of their workforce.

Research out of Cleveland State University found that the costs incurred by a paid sick leave policy would include "lost wages for new users of paid sick leave policies and administration expenses incurred to operate sick leave accountability systems." The study concluded that a paid sick leave mandate would have been harmful to the state's employees and employers (noting that the costs of a mandate would outweigh the benefits) by imposing a net cost on the state and resulting in lost jobs.[29]

A survey of New York City employers in 2010 by the Partnership for New York City found that a paid sick leave mandate would cost city employers $789 million per year. The survey also found that small businesses and nonprofit organizations would be faced with almost 20 percent of the cost of the city-wide mandate.[30]

A 2013 study by the Employment Policies Institute found that many businesses responded to a paid sick leave mandate in Connecticut by reducing paid leave, scaling back employee benefits, cutting back on hours, reducing wages, or raising prices.[31] About 24% of employers that responded to the survey said they'd hire fewer employees as a consequence of the law and 10% admitted that the law had caused them to limit or restrict their expansion within the state.[31]

Existing provisions

United States

The United States does not currently require that employees have access to paid sick days to address their own short-term illnesses or the short-term illness of a family member. The U.S. does guarantee unpaid leave for serious illnesses through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law covers employers with more than 50 workers and, within those businesses, covers employees who have worked for their employer for at least 12 months prior to taking the leave.[32]

Four jurisdictions in the United States have passed local paid sick time laws:

In November 2006, the voters of San Francisco passed a ballot initiative making the city the first in the country to guarantee paid sick days to all workers. The measure received the support of 61 percent of voters.[33] Under San Francisco's law, workers earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers in businesses with 10 or fewer employees earn up to five days per year, while workers at larger businesses earn nine days per year. Workers use paid sick time to recover from illness, attend doctor visits or care for a sick child, partner, or designated loved one.[34] Two studies demonstrate that employment rates in San Francisco have not suffered in the wake of the paid sick days law.[35] However, the research also found that over 28 percent of employees in the "bottom wage quartile" faced layoffs or total hours reduced as a result of the paid sick leave mandate.[36]

In March 2008, the Washington, D.C. Council voted unanimously to pass legislation guaranteeing workers paid sick time. Under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, workers in businesses with 100 or more workers earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year, workers in businesses with 25-99 workers earn five days, and workers in businesses with 24 or fewer workers earn three days. This paid time off can be used to recover from illnesses, care for sick family members, seek routine or preventative medical care, or obtain assistance related to domestic violence or sexual assault. The law exempts tipped restaurant workers as well as workers in the first year of employment.[37] The D.C. law was also the first in the United States to include paid "safe" days for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

In November 2008, paid sick days were put to a vote on the Milwaukee ballot, and voters passed the measure with 69 percent of the vote, enacting a law that guarantees paid sick and safe days for all workers in the city. The ordinance was immediately challenged by the Chamber of Commerce and has not been implemented. Recently, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge ruled the city ordinance invalid under a Wisconsin state law that bans local paid sick leave ordinances.[38]

On July 1, 2011, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 11-52 which will make Connecticut the first state to mandate paid sick leave. The Act, which only narrowly passed through Connecticut’s Senate (18-17) and House of Representatives (76-65), is set to take effect on January 1, 2012, and requires employers to allow their “service workers” to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, capped at a maximum of 40 hours per year. The Act applies to the “service workers” of employers with 50 or more employees in Connecticut during any single quarter in the previous year. It is estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 workers will be eligible for the paid leave. The Act defines “service worker” as an hourly or non-exempt employee who is primarily engaged in one of 68 occupations including: Food Service Manager, Medical and Health Services Manager, Librarian, Pharmacist, Physician Assistant, Registered Nurse, Home Health Aide, Nursing Aide, Orderly and Attendant, Security Guard, Cook, Food Preparation Worker, Bartender, Fast Food and Counter Worker, Waiter, Waitress, Dishwasher, Host, Hostess, Janitor, Usher, Lobby Attendant, Ticket Taker, Barber, Baggage Porter, Bellhop, Concierge, Cashier, Retail Salesperson, Courier, Secretary, Administrative Assistant, Computer Operator, Data Entry and Information Processing Worker, Bus Driver, Taxi Driver, and Chauffeur. Day laborers and temporary workers are not included within the definition of a “service worker.”[39]

Australia

Sick leave has its origins in trade union campaigns for its inclusion in industrial agreements. In [2]

Under the Federal Government's industrial relations legislation (Fair Work) eligible employees are entitled to ten (10) days of paid personal leave (sick/carer's leave) per year, which also carries over to subsequent years if not used.

In addition, Australian workers are entitled to two (2) days of compassionate leave per year where they suffer a death in the family (or similar significant bereavement).

United Kingdom

Sweden

Sweden has paid sick leave.[40] The first sick day is usually not paid. After that day 80% of the income is paid for 364 days and 75% for a further maximum 550 days. A medical doctor must certify the illness no later than one week after the first sick day. A parent of a less than 12-year-old sick child can get paid leave to care for the child (termed "temporary parental leave"). In that case the first day is also paid. The state pays all these benefits, except for the first two weeks of sick leave for employees, which is paid by the employer.

France

In France paid sick leave is paid partly by social security (Sécurité sociale) and partly by the employer. It requires a medical justification no later than 48 hours after the first sick day. Social security only pays one part of the treatment, starting at the fourth day, and can make controls. The employer pays an additional part depending on collective agreement and legislation. Basic legislation requires that an employee working for more than one year, starting at eighth sick day social security and employer together provides 90% of salary for at least 30 days. Ratio and number of days are computed according to the number of years worked in the company.

Other legislation and agreement are applicable in other contexts such as sick child, pregnancy, paternity leave.

Since 2011, civil servants on sick leave are not paid during the first day of sick leave ("journée de carence").

Germany

In Germany, employers are legally required to provide at least six weeks of sick leave at full salary if the employee can present a medical certificate of being ill (which is issued on a standard form).[41] After this six weeks, the employee receives about 70% of his last salary, paid by the statutory health insurance until he recovers or retires because of his health. Fathers and mothers raising a child younger than 12 years also have the right to paid leave if the child is sick.

Other countries

At least 145 countries provide paid sick days for short- or long-term illnesses, with 127 providing a week or more annually. 98 countries guarantee one month or more of paid sick days.[42]

Many high-income economies require employers to provide paid sick days upwards of 10 days, including: Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Singapore.[43]

Proposed policies in the United States

Public opinion

In August 2008, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago released their findings from a national public opinion poll on paid sick days.[44]

  • 86 percent of people surveyed said they favor a basic paid sick day policy.
  • 94 percent of self-identified liberals and 81 percent of self-identified conservatives believed that paid sick day should be a basic workplace right.
  • 77 percent of respondents believed that paid sick days were very important.
  • 63 percent of workers who did not have access to paid sick leave said they were concerned about not having paid sick days.
  • 16 percent of workers reported that they or a family member have been fired, suspended, or otherwise punished or that they would be fired if they missed work due to illness.
  • 46 percent of respondents said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports paid sick days.

U.S. federal legislation

The Healthy Families Act (HR 2460 / S 1152) would establish a basic workplace mandate of paid sick days so workers can take paid sick days to care for their health or the health of their families.

The bill creates a minimum requirement that allows workers to earn up to seven days per year of paid leave to recover from illness, to care for a sick family member, or to seek preventative health care. It enables victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault to take paid time off to recover from incidents and seek assistance from the police or court. It also allows people to take time off to care for ill parents and elderly relatives, or to attend diagnostic or routine medical appointments. Employers with fewer than 15 workers would be exempt from the law.

The Healthy Families Act would allow an additional 30 million workers to have access to paid sick leave from their jobs, including 15 million low-wage workers and 13 million women workers. If the bill were to become law, 90 percent of all American workers would have access to paid sick days (up from 61 percent currently).[45]

A version of the bill was first introduced in 2004. Each session, it has gained support inside and outside of Congress. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Edward Kennedy reintroduced the Healthy Families Act in the 111th Congress in May 2009.[46] After Senator Kennedy’s death, Senator Chris Dodd became the lead Senate sponsor of the Healthy Families Act. The bill currently has 125 co-sponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate.

The Health Families Act was the subject of three hearings in the 111th United States Congress:

  • House Education and Labor Committee’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee hearing on the Healthy Families Act on June 11, 2009.
  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Subcommittee on Children and Families hearing, “The Cost of Being Sick: H1N1 and Paid Sick Days,” on November 10, 2009.
  • House Education and Labor Committee hearing, “Protecting Employees, Employers and the Public: H1N1 and Sick Leave Policies,” on November 17, 2009.

The Obama Administration has testified in support of the bill.[47] First Lady Michelle Obama has spoken out on numerous occasions about the need for a paid sick day mandate.[48]

The U.S. government guarantees federal employees 13 paid sick days a year.

Current U.S. state and local campaigns

In recent years, advocates in states and cities across the country have created campaigns for paid sick days laws.

Alabama

Alabama State Rep. Merika Coleman introduced paid sick and safe time legislation in February 2010. The paid sick time would have allowed employees to take time off for illness; to seek medical diagnosis or treatment; care for a sick family member; take time away when a school has been closed due to a public health emergency; or to seek services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.[49] The legislation was not considered by the legislature and has since died.

Alaska

A coalition led by

Arizona

Arizona State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, with the support of several of her colleagues in the Arizona House of Representatives, introduced paid sick and safe time legislation in 2010. The paid sick days could have been used by employees to recover from an illness, seek medical diagnosis or treatment, care for a sick family member, in the event of a public health emergency, or to seek services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.[51] The legislation was not considered by the legislature and has since died.

California

In 2006, San Francisco voters passed the first paid sick leave law in the country with 61 percent of the city vote.

California Labor Federation, is working to bring paid sick days to all California workers. The California coalition includes advocates working on behalf of workers, women, children, people of color, and the state's public health interest.

Paid sick day legislation was last considered in California in May 2011. The legislation would have allowed workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers would have been able to use the paid sick days to recover from illness, to care for an ill family member, or to seek services related to sexual assault, or domestic violence. The bill would have guaranteed employees of businesses with 10 or more employees the right to use a minimum of nine paid sick days annually. Employees of smaller businesses would be guaranteed a minimum of five paid sick days annually.

The legislation failed in the legislature, mainly over concerns regarding how to pay for the mandate—which would have applied to state workers and government employees as well.[53]

Colorado

The Colorado Paid Sick Days Coalition is led by 9to5, National Association of Working Women, and includes many partner organizations working on behalf of workers, women, children, people of color, and the state's public health interest. Colorado's paid sick days bill in 2010 would have allowed employees to take time away from work to recover from illness, receive medical treatment, care for a sick family member, or seek services related to domestic violence.[54] Though the legislation was introduced in 2010, it was pulled almost immediately after. The bill sponsors acknowledged that the legislation needed more work before it could be considered.[55]

Connecticut

In 2011, the legislation was approved in the state Senate by one vote (18-17). Under the paid sick day mandate, Connecticut workers employed by businesses with 50 or more employees would be able to take a paid sick day to recover from illness, seek preventive care, care for a sick child, or seek assistance related to family violence, sexual assault, or violence.[57]

Hawaii

Legislation introduced in Hawaii in 2009 would have allowed workers to earn paid sick time to recover from their own illness, seek medical diagnosis or treatment, or to care for a sick family member. Employees would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours for those employed by smaller businesses (defined as having fewer than 50 employees) or a maximum of 72 hours for those employed by larger businesses (defined as having 50 or more employees).[58] The legislation was not approved the legislature and has since died.

Illinois

Paid sick days legislation in Illinois would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time per 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of seven days per year. Under the Healthy Workplace Act, paid sick days could be used to recover from an illness, care for a sick family member, or seek medical diagnosis or treatment.[59]

Iowa

Iowa's paid sick and safe days proposal, introduced by State Sen. Thomas Courtney (on behalf of the Senate Committee on Labor and Business Relations) in 2010, would have allowed workers to earn 5.54 hours of job-protected, paid sick time per 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 18 days per year. Leave could be used to recover from illness, to seek diagnosis or treatment, to care for a sick family member, to seek services related to domestic assault, sexual abuse, or stalking, or in the event of a public health emergency.[60]

Maine

The Maine Women's Lobby partnered with the Maine Work and Family Coalition to introduced a paid sick days bill in Maine in 2010. The bill would have guaranteed workers at larger businesses up to about six paid sick days per year, while workers at smaller businesses could have earned approximately three paid sick days per year. The earned paid sick time could have been used for routine illness, to care for a family member during a public health emergency, to receive preventive care, or to be used in relation to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.[61] The legislation was rejected by the state House in March 2010.[62]

Massachusetts

The

Minnesota

The Minnesota Healthy Families, Healthy Workplace Act from 2009 would have provided all workers with paid sick days to be used to recover from their own illness, to care for a sick family member, or for absence related to domestic violence. Workers would have earned one hour of paid sick time per 40 hours worked, capped at 52 hours (or 6.5 days) per year. Smaller businesses would have provided one hour of paid sick time for every 80 hours worked, capped at 26 hours (or 3.25 days) per year. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees would have been exempt from the law.[64] The proposal was not considered by the state legislature and has since died.

Montana

Montana State Rep. Mary Caferro introduced paid sick days legislation in 2009. The legislation was tabled in committee and was not considered further in the 2009 legislative session.[65]

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Women's Lobby & Alliance, is partnering with a large coalition that includes women's rights and public health advocates to advance a paid sick days bill in the state's legislature. The legislation from 2009, which is now dead, would have provided up to five paid sick and safe days for New Hampshire workers, allowing them to take paid time to recover from illness, to care for a sick family member, or for absence necessary due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

New York City

Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York as well as involvement by public health leaders of the city and advocates working on behalf of workers, children, and women.

New York City's law requires workers in the city earn paid sick time at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Workers at businesses with more than 15 employees are eligible to accrue up to 40 hours (or five days) of paid sick leave per year. And at companies of any size, no one can be fired for taking an unpaid sick day. Workers may use the time to care for their own illness or the illness of a family member, to seek preventive medical care for themselves or a family member, or in the event that a public health emergency leads to the closure of their own workplace or a child's school or daycare.[66] City Coucilmember Gale Brewer's legislation passed in the spring of 2013, requiring paid sick days for nearly 1 million New York City workers. Gale's bill was opposed by some business interests, Mayor Bloomberg, and the City Council Speaker, but she was able to build overwhelming public support and convinced the Speaker to change her mind. The bill passed with a veto-proof majority.[67]

New York State

New York State Assemblyman Karim Camara and State Senator Kevin Parker introduced legislation in the New York legislature that would require employers to provide one hour of paid sick time for every 20 hours worked. Workers at larger businesses (defined as having 10 or more employees) would be able to earn up to 80 hours (or ten days) of paid sick time per year, and workers at smaller businesses could earn up to 40 hours (or five days). The time could be used to recover from illness or care for a sick family member.[68]

North Carolina

The legislation was not considered by the legislature this year and is now dead.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

The coalition advocating for paid sick days in the city of http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/morning_roundup/2011/10/paid-sick-leave-the-law.html

Portland, Oregon

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz announced on January 30, 2013 that she was pursuing a city council vote for earned sick leave policy for Portland, Oregon residents. Employees would earn one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked, with a cap at 40 hours per calendar year. The policy would exempt businesses with less than 5 employees. The policy will be voted on sometime in March 2013 by the Portland City Council, and if it passes, will be implemented in January 2014.[74]

Rhode Island

Introduced by State Reps. Messier, Carnevale, Handy, Naughton, and Ferri, Rhode Island's proposed paid sick time legislation would allow workers to earn job-protected paid time off to be used to recover from an illness, seek medical diagnosis or treatment, care for a sick family member, take time away when a school has been closed due to a public health emergency, or seek services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The bill would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to seven days per year for larger businesses and up to four days per year for small businesses.[75]

Tacoma

The

Vermont

Washington State

The

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Paid Sick Days Coalition, led by 9to5, National Association of Working Women, is working to build upon momentum created by the Milwaukee Paid Sick Days Campaign and to generate support for statewide legislation. Their proposal would provide access paid sick days for all Wisconsin workers, as well as access to paid safe days for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. On May 5, 2011 Governor Scott Walker signed legislation that prohibits local paid sick leave ordinances from being enacted in Wisconsin.[80]

See also

References

External links

  • Managing health at work - recording and monitoring information on sickness absence including work relatedness by P Ritchie and others. HSE Research Report 310/2005
ru:Листок нетрудоспособности
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