Paid Sick Leave: Debate Rages On, Will New Proposal Change Things?

Paid sick leave is one of those hot topic buttons that’s about to become a front burner issue in politics. As Forbes writes, “conservatives need to get ready for a debate about government’s role in ensuring that American workers have access to paid leave time.”

President Obama has made a proposal that requires businesses with over 15 employees offer seven paid sick days each year. Some Democrats want more — along the lines of the FAMILY Act, which by and large means a sweeping “government paid-leave entitlement program.”

Americans, as a whole, support workers receiving paid sick leave because it’s a fact illnesses occur and it’s not an option for single parents to work when their children are sick. No one should face a penalty when they’re unable to work for health reasons.

Another article by Fortune magazine brought up one state passing legislation on sick leave and others considering putting bills to a vote on the issue.

Tacoma, Washington, passed legislation which requires businesses to give workers at a minimum of three days of paid sick leave a year. The state is now considering a statewide bill on the issue; Maryland already has the law in place. At the end of this month, voters in Chicago will vote on paid sick days in a “non-binding referendum.” Philadelphia lawmakers are focusing on the issue.

Fortune cites a 2014 survey done by Public Religion Research Institute, in which 81 percent of respondents favored a sick leave legislation as proposed by Obama. Those favorable to it included 70 percent of Republicans.

In his State of the Union Address in January, President Obama brought up the subject of paid sick leave.

“Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It’s the right thing to do.”

Society for Human Resources Management lobbyist, Lisa Horn, says that employers prefer flexibility for their workers to choose how they spend their leave time — whether it’s sick or vacation time. Horn adds that a “federal paid sick leave rule would be that businesses will cut back on other benefits,” NPR reports.

Horn says it still comes down to the overall rewards package by smaller employers, which remain the same.

“For all employers, regardless of size, they have a finite amount of resources that are dedicated to their total rewards package.”

Federal employees have 13 paid sick leave days a year, plus 13 paid vacation days that goes up to 20 after they’ve worked for the government over three years. Don’t forget abut the 10 paid holidays they receive, as well. This was highlighted by the report in Forbes.

[Image via the Left Hook]

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