Nearly three million Americans missed work last month, and many of them did so without having access to paid sick leave. About 40 percent of private sector workers and 80 percent of low-income workers don’t receive a single paid sick day from their employers, forcing them into choosing between their health (or the health of a child or relative) and their paycheck, or even their job.
Democrats have introduced measures to change that, in the process ending America’s tenure as the only developed country that doesn’t require some form of paid leave. But the top Republican on the Senate Labor Committee is having none of it:
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the top Republican on the labor committee, contends such a requirement “would only make a bad unemployment problem worse” by increasing hiring costs.
A favorite Republican claim is that any new business requirement will cause job losses. In the case of paid sick leave, though, the research shows nothing of the sort. Study after study has shown that paid sick leave has no effect on job creation. In fact, San Francisco business expansion picked up after the city required employers to provide paid sick days. The same pattern has held true in early evaluations of Connecticut’s new paid sick leave law.
Republicans, business leaders, and the Chamber of Commerce constantly gripe about paid sick day laws. But the evidence hasn’t borne out their warnings, instead showing that fair labor policy is good for both workers and employers.