Wisconsin Could Undo Its Ban On Paid Sick Days — By Requiring Them Statewide

CREDIT: Flickr

In 2011, Wisconsin became the second state to pass a bill banning local governments in the state from enacting paid sick leave policies. That move undid a paid sick leave ordinance in Milwaukee that passed by a 69 percent margin in 2008.

But now the tides might turn. Democratic lawmakers have introduced a paid sick leave bill that would make sure workers at most businesses could earn up to nine paid sick days a year when they or a love one gets sick, while those at businesses with fewer than 10 workers could earn up to five. The leave could also be used to recover from domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

So far just one state, Connecticut, has passed paid sick leave. Its experience has shown that critics who worry that it’ll hurt business need not fear: a year and a half later, nearly two-thirds of the state’s businesses say it came with no or little cost, abuse was virtually non-existent, and many reported benefits from the law such as improved morale and productivity. More than three-quarters are now supportive of the policy. Seven cities have laws and their experiences have played out in very similar ways. Paid sick days can also have a variety of benefits for workers and society.

Yet Wisconsin is one of nine other states that have passed legislation banning paid sick days policies at the local level and others are pushing similar laws.

Some states are moving in the opposite direction, though, and vying to join Connecticut: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington are also considering laws, as is the city of Chicago.