A measure guaranteeing paid sick leave for employees in Massachusetts passed in Tuesday's election. Three states and 16 cities now have laws requiring paid sick leave, says Family Values @ Work Executive Director Ellen Bravo, but the individual policies vary.
New York City's paid-sick-leave law went into effect last week, and so far the consequences have been minimal, employers say. The law requires most employers to offer workers with at least three months of service up to five days off to care for themselves or a sick relative.
Some small-business owners recently went to the State House in Vermont to support legislation that would mandate paid sick leave for workers. "From an employer side I see that the value is very high, monetarily as well as physically and culturally and socially," said Beth Sachs, president of Vermont Energy Investment. The bill, which has faced opposition from other business owners, would allow workers to earn sick leave based on hours worked.
Small-business owners say they're worried about a proposal by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to require more firms to offer paid sick leave to employees. The measure would require companies with at least five employees to provide paid leave. "Having employees take off and still be paid -- that will definitely push us over the edge," cafe owner Rakan Ammouri said.
Small business persuaded the California Senate to defeat a bill that would have provided workers in small businesses with up to five days of annual paid sick leave. The measure, which would have resulted in the loss of an estimated 370,000 jobs, "unfairly presumed that small-business owners are able to provide paid sick leave and don't want to," said NFIB Executive Director John Kabeteck. "That couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is that many want to but simply can't afford it."