A debate over the sick time law continues as more people fall victim to the flu and miss work. An estimated 40 million people in the United States do not have paid sick leave at their jobs, but lawmakers want to change this. New York City is considering a proposal that would make paid sick leave mandatory.
“A rally of supporters gathered outside City Hall in New York City to support the creation of a sick time law. Supporters wore masks and touted signs demanding more rights. The country is in the midst of one of the worst flu epidemics in recent years, so the proposal has many backers. However, there is no guarantee it will actually become law in New York City.
Not everyone supports the idea of a sick time law in New York City and other parts of the United States. Many believe it would create an unnecessary burden on small businesses and cripple finances. They do not think that forcing businesses to pay for sick leave is a fair measure during these difficult economic times.
“How do the estimated 40 million people in the United States without paid sick leave handle an illness? According to data from the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, they tend to go to work for fear of losing their job or the money they would earn by missing a day. This often leads to the spread of diseases among other workers, and it may also help explain the current flu epidemic. Ultimately, productivity in the workplace is affected by sick workers who infect others.
Businesses in most parts of the country have always had the freedom to decide if paid sick leave would be included in the employees’ benefits. There are a few exceptions with San Francisco and Washington D.C. as two examples of cities having laws forcing sick leave to be paid. The New York City proposal would give workers five days a year.
“The debate about the sick leave law is not likely to end soon. Businesses have vowed to fight the proposal while supporters are planning more rallies. Unfortunately, paid sick leave is a difficult subject for them to agree on. Although some companies simply cannot afford the new law, there are others who oppose it based on principal. Meanwhile, there are millions of employees who live in fear of getting sick because they cannot afford to miss a day of work.