Connecticut’s paid sick days law — which requires businesses in the service sector with more than 50 employees to allow their workers to accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work — went into effect in January 2012. This week, the Employment Policies Institute released new “research” on the implementation of the law, arguing that it’s hurt the state.
But it is difficult to refer to this as “research” with a straight face, since the group is a shell corporation for big business interests and the report repeatedly asserts that the data is “not representative.” The Employment Policies Institute has released similarly dubious reports arguing against raising the minimum wage, and against the Affordable Care Act. Its founder Rick Berman, was a lobbyist for the food, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries, and has been publically accused of using his non-profit shell organizations to benefit the for-profit clients for which he lobbies.
Amongst the report’s problems, data collection began in April 2012, four months after the implementation of the law and, due to the requirements of the legislation, before most full-time workers could have used any of the sick days earned. The initial survey was sent to businesses identified as “most likely to be impacted by the law” but nearly half (45 percent) of respondents did not have to change their policies in order to comply with the law — yet they still were included in the results saying negative things about the effects of the legislation.
The report claims that businesses are laying off workers and limiting expansion, but rigorously collected data from the Connecticut Department of Labor shows employment growth in the Leisure and Hospitality and Education and Health Services sectors since the law went into effect — two sectors that had the largest numbers of workers without paid sick days prior to passage of the law.
This is a study funded by low-wage employers, claiming that providing their already exploited workers with benefits is unnecessary and bad for the economy. In spite of the great deal of evidence showing that their argument is incorrect, this narrative is dangerous nonetheless.
In nearby New York City, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has refused to bring paid sick days legislation up for a vote, despite overwhelming support from both voters and the rest of the Council. In Orange County, Florida, meanwhile, a voter initiated ballot measure was prevented from appearing on the election ballot by County officials after texting with lobbyists from Disney and other anti-sick leave businesses.
Our guest blogger is Sarah Jane Glynn, an economic policy analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.