Paid Sick Days Expansion in DC Would Benefit Business, Reduce Health Care Costs

Nov 01, 2013, 16:28 ET from Institute for Women's Policy Research

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the DC City Council considers the "Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013," a proposed amendment that would expand the existing paid sick days law to more workers, a new analysis by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) shows that providing paid sick days to newly covered workers under the proposed amendment is expected to save DC employers approximately $2 million per year.

While DC was among the first cities to pass citywide paid sick days legislation in 2008, the current law excludes a number of workers, and starts coverage only after workers have been employed by a particular employer for more than one year and 1,000 hours. The proposed amendment to DC's existing policy, would not only expand protections to even more workers--including most tipped restaurant workers--in DC, but also enhance enforcement and outreach efforts to reduce non-compliance reported by the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor. In DC, approximately 20,306 tipped and newly hired workers currently lack paid leave benefits of any kind (including vacation) and are eligible to receive new leave under the proposed amendment.

"From a public health standpoint, tipped workers must be able to stay home when they are sick, since they have so much contact with the public," said Barbara Gault, Vice President and Executive Director of IWPR. "Economically speaking, greater access to earned sick days are a win-win policy for businesses, employees, and the community."

IWPR analysis shows that employers can expect to see the cost of implementing this new policy offset by increased employee productivity, reduced costs associated with less contagion of communicable diseases, and reduced employee turnover.

IWPR's analysis has found that, when workers receive paid sick days, they miss an average of two days annually for illness and injury, excluding maternity leave.

When workers can take needed time off without fear of being fired, they and their families can obtain necessary health care more promptly, leading to improved health outcomes, speedier recoveries, and reduced total health care spending.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.

SOURCE Institute for Women's Policy Research