Businesses and Workers Win with Earned Paid Sick Leave (June 24, 2017)

By Douglas Hall, PhD

Rhode Island’s business lobbyists have been pulling out all the stops in opposition to the overwhelmingly popular earned paid sick days bills in the House (H5413) and Senate (S290). In the version passed out of the Senate Labor Committee this week, the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act allows Rhode Island employees to accumulate earned paid sick days, totaling up to 32 hours in 2018, and up to 40 hours thereafter.

It’s surprising that this commonsense measure, which allows Rhode Island workers to take time from work to care for themselves or family members during periods of illness, continues to attract such fierce opposition, since the experience in other jurisdictions that have adopted paid sick leave has been that businesses face little or no additional costs, and overwhelmingly support the provisions once fully implemented.

Opponents have been taking out of context the findings of a report prepared by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and The Murphy Institute at CUNY to gauge the impact on businesses of Connecticut’s paid sick days bill. The CEPR report, Good for Business? Connecticut’s Paid Sick Leave Law actually concludes that the impact on Connecticut businesses was minimal and that a sizable majority of Connecticut businesses surveyed support the earned sick leave law.

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