Make Paid Sick Days Universal

By federal law, all employees, including hourly and contract workers, should receive at least six paid sick days a year. Pro or con?

Pro: Flu Sufferers Belong in Bed, Not in the Cafeteria

Everyone gets sick. Yet half of U.S. workers don’t have paid sick time. They find themselves forced to choose between going to work ill (or leaving a sick child home alone) and losing pay, or, worse, even their jobs. Unlike 145 other nations, the U.S. has no law that requires employers to provide paid sick days.

Business argues that it would cost too much. But it costs too much not to do so. Without paid sick days, our public health suffers. Workers have no choice but to come to work sick and spread colds, the flu, and other ills to the public. In fact, the workers least likely to be provided paid sick days are those who prepare and serve our food, care for the elderly, look after our children, and help us in retail stores.

When workers must come to work sick and spread illness to co-workers, it results in greater absenteeism. And workers without paid sick days may end up losing their jobs when they must care for themselves or a sick family member, which in turn translates into high turnover costs. Indeed, a 2008 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that businesses experience significant savings when they provide paid sick days.

America’s families want change. In a recent nationwide survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, three-quarters of those polled said they viewed paid sick days as a basic right of employment that government should guarantee. Business lobbyists will argue—as they previously did when they resisted establishing a minimum wage and creating family and medical leave—that providing paid sick days will result in job loss. But San Francisco, the first city to institute a law that requires employers to provide paid sick days, has experienced job growth, not loss.

Workers should not have to lose pay or their jobs when they or a family member gets sick. Having paid sick days is just another win-win standard where better lives and better business go hand in hand.

Con: Don’t Shackle Small Business to Costly Benefits

Most small business owners, such as the ones we represent, oppose government mandates like paid sick leave. The reason? These laws force small business owners to implement policies that may not be in the best interest of their workers.

In our view, small business owners should be free to do what is best for them and their employees. If a federal law requiring paid leave is passed, employers and employees will no longer have the freedom to negotiate which benefits best meet their mutual needs, such as paid sick leave, vacation, or health care. Often, small employers can only afford one.

Furthermore, the legislation isn’t needed, because many small business owners already provide some type of paid time off to their employees. The Federation of Independent Business Small Business Poll conducted in 2003-04 revealed that 96% of small business owners already provide flexible working hours for their employees when personal situations arise.

In addition, 75% of employers voluntarily offer some form of paid sick leave to their employees, and 67% of small business owners most recently granted family leave as paid leave.

Legislation that forces businesses to provide paid sick time could cause small business billions of dollars and make it more difficult for small firms to meet their employees’ needs, let alone expand and create jobs, further hurting the U.S. economy at the worst possible time.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

No Such Thing

This would be ridiculous. There is no such thing as paid vacation or sick days. Even if it says you get them in your contract or in some overbearing law, you don't. Why? Because if you worked those extra days, you would get paid more. Plain and simple.

Building in paid vacation and paid sick days only hurts the employee. Who wouldn't rather get paid for a few more days if they don't use them?

Paid sick days will lead to people calling in as "sick" when they just want to attend to personal matters or play hooky.

People get paid when the work. Businesses are not charities; they exist with a responsibility to their owners/shareholders to make a profit. Such laws will either A) reduce the amount of pay a worker gets (they are working fewer days so they will be paid less). This may not happen immediately, but their next raise will be smaller, or benefits not as good, etc., or B) increase the cost of the goods and services rendered by the company. This will make it harder for American firms to compete in a global market.

Keep the government out of it.

Chris

Paid sick days should be mandated. That businesses would lose money or cut jobs. The fact is that the number of employees that lose their jobs due to being out sick, either for themselves or a family member, would decrease, meaning that more jobs would be more stable.

The previous poster said, "If you worked those extra days, you would get paid more." The only situation I can think of where that would be accurate would be if an employee worked on a commission/bonus or in a job where tips are given.

I don't think the previous commentator really understands the situation. Statements like the one already mentioned, as well as "reduce the amount of pay a worker gets (they are working fewer days so they will be paid less)" make no sense. The whole point of paid sick days is that they're paid--the employee is paid their normal salary. The human body needs rest when it is sick. When a worker comes in sick because they can't afford to not be paid or even lose their job, their body isn't getting that rest. This usually causes one of two things. Either they stay sick longer, or they actually get sicker. If they stay sick longer, usually that affects their productivity, so their work suffers, which means the business suffers. If they get sicker, again, their productivity suffers, or perhaps they wind up having to stay home sick anyway, but instead of being out sick one day, now they're out sick three days because they're even worse and their body never got the rest. Of course, this wouldn't be the case every time, but ask anybody in the medical profession--these are the two situations most likely to happen. And this isn't taking into account whether other employees get ill from someone working sick instead of staying home.

It seems pretty clear that the previous poster either didn't read or ignored the following statement in the pro article: "Indeed, a 2008 study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that businesses experience significant savings when they provide paid sick days."

In addition, the con article reasons that legislation isn't needed, because most companies provide some form of sick day. First, they say that 96% of employers offer flexible work hours for employees' personal situations. That sounds nice on the surface, but what that means is that employers will let their employees make up the time later, in most cases. That's good for some, but a lot of employees may not be able to come in on a Saturday or nights to make up hours, because they have no one to watch their children, or maybe they work a second job.

Next, the con article states: "In addition, 75% of employers voluntarily offer some form of paid sick leave to their employees, and 67% of small business owners most recently granted family leave as paid leave." The questions I have about this statistic are: What percentage of the employees pay do they receive? How many hours/days are the employees given? Does the use of these days/hours count against them for disciplinary action (either at that time or in the future) even though they're being paid (you'd be surprised how many companies do things like that)? Finally, my question is this: If that large a percentage of employers voluntarily do this, then why fight so hard to oppose a legislation? And please don't answer "because the other 25% of businesses can't afford it." Again, I refer back to the 2008 study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research cited in the first article.

Oh, and statements like "Paid sick days will lead to people calling in as "sick" when they just want to attend to personal matters or play hooky," are ridiculously cynical and disrespectful. Many, many managers and owners have found that if you treat your employees with respect and trust, they will work harder and be more trustworthy than if treated like children, to be watched like a hawk at every turn and restricted in all aspects of their workday. While a small percentage will abuse privileges, the majority will actually work harder for you. This is a basic tenet of management and leadership, and anyone who's done any research to better their management and leadership skills will be able to confirm this.

Jane Hillhouse

This past year, we switched from paid sick leave to paid personal time. Personal time is for use when employee is sick or needs time for doctors appointments, dealing with sick children, etc. If you don't get sick, you have personal time to use as you see fit. We find this gives the employee the most flexibility.

random

The idea that because a person is out sick, it means that a project is going to be delayed or a business will lose productivity betrays a very simplistic view of what goes on in the workplace. Commentators assume that because there's a body in a chair, work is getting done and each day there's a similar amount of accomplished work. For anyone who's ever worked in an office, it would be pretty evident that this is not the case.

Sick workers don't get much work done. They can't. Their bodies are fighting off bacteria and viruses. As a a result, they need to take more breaks, they make more errors and overall, and accomplish less during the day. Curiously enough, plenty of healthy workers accomplish very little during the day as well, so to say that you'll feel a huge productivity and cost impact over six days in a year is just not correct. Whatever losses you might have would come out to a few dollars and you might actually gain productivity when healthy employees are humming along instead of fixing all the mistakes they made when they were sick.

The whole "drag yourself to work even if you have the black plague" thing is a cultural phenomenon. The United States is a nation of workaholics obsessed with productivity stats and real time numbers. Of course the problem with obsessing over daily numbers is that you can't see the forest for the trees, and that adversely affects your decision making when it comes to things like setting sick day policies.

Boss

Thank you Businessweek. It looks like one business (BusinessWeek) is actually thinking in this age and time. All these workoidiots got us in this mess with their simplistic world view as the comment "no such thing" shows us. Hooky would do him/her some good. Maybe we should blame sick time for the crashing of whole world economy and not these incompetent fools running the system.

bobbie goheen

I love the idea many companies have adopted--personal days that can be used for sickness or wellness days.

Austin King

Beth Shulman nails it. This is a new minimum labor standard for a 21st-century workforce where many families have two breadwinners by necessity.

And, tellingly, Susan Eckerly doesn't tell us how many paid days off she gets, but my guess is it's well above and beyond the benefits accrued by the people who cook and serve her food every day.

This is a benefit many of us take for granted, but just imagine not having paid sick days and making the wrenching decision to go to work sick, infecting others and hurting yourself, because it's necessary to survive, keep your job, and pay the rent.

BCS

"No such thing" is right. If sick days are required, pay will be reduced to compensate. If employees want sick days, find a place that offers them and work there.

Organizations will offer sick leave when they notice a reduced pool of talent and increased expenses.

No Such Thing

Poster Chris says, "The previous poster said, 'If you worked those extra days, you would get paid more.' The only situation I can think of where that would be accurate would be if an employee worked on a commission/bonus or in a job where tips are given."

This is what people in favor of paid sick days and paid vacation don't seem to grasp.

An employer pays a worker based on how much work they do (and supposedly how difficult that work is). Let's assume a worker get two weeks "paid" vacation. So the worker is providing the company with 50 weeks of work. The worker is being paid for 50 weeks of work. They are NOT being paid for 52 weeks of work. If the worker instead worked a full 52 weeks they would be paid for 52 weeks of work.

What happens is that the pay for 50 weeks of work is spread out over 52 weeks instead of 50 weeks. So the worker is actually getting less money than if they did not have "paid" vacation. They just don't think of it like that because it is figured in to a regular paycheck.

No matter what, a worker gets paid for how much work they do. So if you mandate paid sick days, then the workers will simply be paid less because they will be working less. Sure, you may not see an immediate cut in pay, but when it comes time for a raise, that raise will be less than it would have been if the worker was actually doing more work.

I am not talking only about hourly workers. In fact, I am more talking about salaried employees. Salaried employees need to realize that they are only going to be paid based on the amount of work they do. If they are not there for 2 weeks out of the 52 weeks of the year, then they are going to be paid for only 50 weeks. It's just that they will be paid 1/52nd of their total salary every week.

An hourly worker knows all about this, as he or she will try to work as many hours as possible. Why? Because more hours = more pay. I would hope that an employer would give a bonus to a worker who did not use these "paid" sick days or "paid" vacation. As they have put in more work than their counterparts who take advantage of these days.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. The money has to come from somewhere, and it is going to come straight out of the worker's compensation eventually.

Companies don't get money out of thin air. They have income and expenses. Less work being done due to government interference with such silly ideas as this will mean the company has to compensate the employees less or charge more.

I have no issue with companies being required to offer a certain number of unpaid personal days. People do need these days sometimes. No argument there. But why should you punish the people who do come to work every day and don't want these days by reducing their compensation as well?

I suppose one issue with unpaid sick days is that perhaps your paycheck would be docked for the days you missed that month. This could instead be amortized over the year. But you are starting to make more paperwork headaches for the business, and what does that mean? Less money for the workers. Why? Because somebody has to pay the bean counters to do that paperwork. This is an overhead expense for the business, and does not contribute to the business' profit. So with less profit, the business has to pay its employees less or cut benefits. Overhead waste caused by silly regulations takes thousands out of employees' pockets every year.

The less you work, the less you get paid. Period.

Zach

Tip. If you put your parents in a retirement home where the workers don't have sick days or enough days, Mum or Dad will have a shorter stay.

If all companies provide sick days, then we'll all stay competitive, a balanced playing field. Is it worth it? We have millions of hours wasted because of sick workers and students. Some companies that have recognized the problem already have passed policies.

Another fact is the U.S. employee works more days then any other worker from an industrial country--including Japan.

There's not a lot of choice for the majority of us in the United States without some basic laws that cover sick days.

Pass it along?

No to combined Sick/PTO

I've worked at a company that offered simply a PTO of 3 weeks (instead of the standard 1 week of sick leave + 2 weeks vacation). As one of the posters mentioned above, this is seen as the most "fair" because people can use the days however they see fit.

Having experienced this in practice I can say that this is a terrible policy. Workers tend to come into work sick more often than if there were paid sick time because they want to save all their time for vacationing (rather than lying around in bed being sick).

This causes colds and flus to be spread around the office making even more workers sick and therefore less productive.

Please, please mandate paid sick leave so that selfish people will learn to stay home when they're sick so the rest of us can do our work in a safe, healthy environment.

Dallas

Most of the posters here are obviously workers and have never tried running a business let alone actually succeeded. I have worked the corporate world and I know that if I had sick days, I would use them (for whatever). If I had sick days accumulated, I would make sure I would use them before the end of the year since most of the companies I worked for did not allow carry over. As a business owner, I hire many laborers for minimum wage and if they are not performing on the job, I send them home and only pay them for actual hours worked. Besides not being able to afford it, why should I pay for something I am not receiving (labor in this case). If I had to pay sick days for a minimum wage individual, I would not be able to reduce their wage to compensate for the sick days so in effect I am having to pay 52 weeks pay for 50 weeks work. This is not a workable situation. If this comes to pass, I (and I am sure most other businesses) will find creative ways to circumvent this requirement simply because it is not economically feasible.

KT

If people want a job with benefits and sick leave, they can find one.

random

"The worker is being paid for 50 weeks of work. They are not being paid for 52 weeks of work. If the worker instead worked a full 52 weeks they would be paid for 52 weeks of work."

And then the company which bases the salary on a 40 hour work week gets an average of 52 hours of work per week from their employees, getting some 600 hours of labor free every year. Really, how many people work full time jobs and get overtime for all the extra work they have to put in to make sure deadlines are met while managers pile on more and more work on them the second it looks like they can take on another task? This is trying to do arithmetic instead of calculus. Such a simplistic approach misses all the nuances of how workers are paid today.

Even when it comes to hourly workers, there's a cut off after which the company will no longer pay but a project has to be done. An hourly employee is there for six months or a year or until the project budget of X dollars is reaches and the project must be done with no more than a 10% overage. There are limits on how much you can earn if you work for someone else no matter your compensation scheme. Supply and demand. Your employer will only demand your labor up to a certain price after which he will no longer need it or want it.

And finally, this is measuring the body in a chair metric, not the final output. When people work too much, they get tired and make mistakes. They're not machines. Give people some rest and normal hours and they'll be able to do more with fewer errors. It's the inability to see the forest for the trees I mentioned earlier. The basic anatomical needs of a human are being totally discounted for simplistic, easily digestible stats.

"If I had sick days accumulated, I would make sure I would use them before the end of the year since most of the companies I worked for did not allow carry over. As a business owner, I hire many laborers for minimum wage and if they are not performing on the job, I send them home and only pay them for actual hours worked."

So in other words, you were just fine with depriving your bosses (who very likely paid you a lot more than you pay your workers) of labor but god forbid your underpaid labor force try and stiff you by taking a sick day? How... hypocritical. You know that you manage human beings who can't do a good job sick and need rest to keep working, and not automatons who have no such needs? Maybe you should think about hiring machines rather than humans. You seem to be better suited to manage robots. Do you actually care about the quality of the work or just that the employee is present and looks busy? It looks like the latter is the case here.

Strategery

The suggestion that small businesses could not afford to do this is baloney. All small businesses would incur this additional cost, so no one would have a competitive advantage/disadvantage. Also, if this is passed, laws that regulate time off for illness need to be strengthened. Too many employers fire people for calling in sick even once, or for too many days (either in a row or spread out). Some require a doctors note--but not every illness requires medical attention. So-called contract employees also miss out on many employee benefits and protections. We need to look at how the rest of the industrialized world does things--mandated sick pay and leave that can be several months long; mandated vacations and vacation pay; universal health care; and work weeks that are several hours shorter than those in the U.S.

Leanne, Marika and Stephanie

Workers should get paid for their sick days. They should be given a certain number of sick days and not worry about their pay getting deducted. Why go to work and spread your illness to the rest of the workers? If you take off recklessly, employers should be allowed to start deducting from your pay. While we do agree that the government should not pass these policies as a requirement, we feel that sick days should at least be in every workplace. Since these people going to work sick are the ones most likely to serve food or take care of people, more people will get sick. If they had sick days, these things wouldn't happen.

john sandefur, joe tressa,and Parid

I think that they should let everyone get paid for sick days, because everyone gets sick, and it's not their fault. You can't control your immune system. If this sickness is like a daily thing, then maybe the employee should not get paid, but if they do the job well, then they deserve to get paid.

ivette

I agree with Chris comment 100% and would hate to work for Mr. or Ms. no such thing. They sound like my boss the micro-manager who thinks I'm superhuman and makes me come in with the flu to get others sick as well.

Nick Comito

I think everyone should have paid sick days. Sometimes you just can't avoid being sick or having a family member who is sick. You shouldn't have to choose between staying home to care for a loved one and going to work so you don't risk losing your job because of absence. It should not be a debate. You should be able to stay home if absolutely need be, and still get paid.

billy-bob,tim,and justin,and billy-bob

I love the idea many companies have adopted--personal days that can be used as sickness or wellness days.

Timothy Ruffin

They should let people have vacation and sick days depending on how long the worker has worked for. If they haven't been there long, then I can see how they shouldn't pay people.

Steve Wimer

Heaven forbid employers should pay for sick employees, health care, or retirement benefits. That might cut into profits.

John

Wow, interesting discussion. Firing someone just because they got sick? It is nearly 2009, not the 1800s. Here in Canada everybody has paid sick days. You will always come across people who will abuse a policy. But for the most part, people really don't abuse it. The company I work for changed from sick days (accumulated at 1.5 per month) to Short Term Disability where you can take up to five days per 'incident.' The manager has the right to demand a doctor's note. The reason I mention this is that when this was rolled out, it was the employees who were most concerned that it would be abused, not the human resources and management people.

Jonathan

No Vacation
No Paid Sick Time

A portion of your paycheck gets deducted before taxes and placed in a fund. When you get sick or go on vacation you draw from the fund. When you quit you are remburced.
If you are hourly you can convert ot to vacation or sick time at the ot rate.

You are not taxed until you take out from the fund.

Pat

Why not also make it 12 weeks "paid" FMLA? Or should the benefit package be between the employee and employer so that both have a choice. Sounds a bit too much like capitalism, doesn't it ?

"By federal law, all employees, including hourly and contract workers, should receive at least six paid sick days a year" puts the feds in charge not the employer, and they sure know how to ru(i)n a business.

Susan

I think sick days should be unpaid. Employers should not be responsible for every little thing in an employee's life. I am persuaded that this is why [people] expect more and more and do less and less or at least are not as effective in what they do for their bosses/companies. Dependency on an employer is no different from dependency on a government.

As far as a four-day work week, that is fine, though no one should be required to work on Sunday (or Saturday if that is their Sabbath.) Oh yeah, capitalism rocks. It is what made this country and will continue to do so if we don't keep schmutzing it up.

Duke

Why don't all you people who think business is so unfair to the employees start your own company? Heck, we all make so much money as owners of our own businesses you should get in on it.

Gwen

My workplace has both salaried and hourly paid workers, but only the salaried get paid sick days (and only 3 days per year. After that they get reprimanded and punished in some unknown way). Previously, salaried workers got all sick days as paid but were expected to be honest, which most of us were. At one point an hourly coworker got extremely sick with the flu, but not being able to pay her bills if she missed work, she came in for a couple of days and got many of us sick (while she accomplished very little work) before she finally gave in and stayed home unpaid. I was out for five days, unable to even sit up, and my boss was out three or four. Being salaried, we fortunately got paid, but I got a severe reprimand later (in spite of there being no limit of sick days at that time, and in spite of the boss knowing exactly how sick we had both been). I wish, for all of our sakes, that she had been allowed to stay home until she was feeling better, without having to worry about her paycheck. I've also had times where I was too sick to hold a pencil, and yet my boss wouldn't let me go home a couple hours early.

NRK

We sure want to drive BMWs and Mercedes that are built by folks with European benefits: 6-8 weeks of leave each year, unlimited sick leave, six months maternity leave, etc. We envy so much of Europe and what it produces, believing in the higher quality but don't want to embrace how they produce it.

However, it has to be a commitment by both management and labor to people and products. When either side becomes greedy it all breaks down. nrk

Chris

Virtually the only employers that do not offer sick time or PTO time are employers that have a very fixed labor budget and are running with the minimum staffing level necessary to do the job at all times.

The business case most commonly referred to in this case study is the fast food restaurant. The community as a whole would benefit greatly if the people preparing the food were healthy and not contaminating the food as they prepared it. Unfortunately many restaurant owners operate on fixed staffing levels in order to provide their product for the low price that the market is currently offering. Having one or two employees "call in sick" means that the entire restaurant is unable to operate in an efficient manner, service suffers greatly and business is lost as a result. We have all been in a restaurant when it took an inordinate amount of time for the food to be served. When that happens, the employees are thought poorly of, but it is the owner who suffers because customers will quickly stop going to restaurants that do not serve food in a prompt manner.

Businesses are not run for the public good, but for a profit to the owner/ investor. If the business is unable to be profitable, then the business will cease to exist. While mandatory sick time may be good for the public good, it creates situations where businesses will stop being profitable, the business will close, and the employees will lose their jobs.

Businesses are expected to be financially responsible for their actions. People need to be held accountable for their actions as well. If someone does not receive paid sick time, then that person needs to save up a portion of their take-home pay and dip into their savings when they need the money. These are the same people show are going to be suffering greatly 20 years from now when Social Security (the government-run Ponzi scheme) fails.

As a society, we need to teach these people that they need to be financially responsible for their actions, and they need to understand that their actions have long-term consequences.

Debra Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

Our country is in a financial crisis, and households across America are struggling. Paid sick days are a basic workplace right--and at times like these, it is even more crucial that we protect our workers. Employers also benefit from paid sick days by reduced turnover, higher productivity, and reducing the spread of contagion in the workplace. In fact, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, if workers were provided just 7 paid sick days per year, our national economy would experience a net savings of $8.2 billion per year. Paid sick days legislation is a win-win solution for both employees and employers.

Carol

I am a store manager for a large retail chain, and I am sick of getting sick because my workers cannot afford to stay home. So instead, they come to work sick and get everyone else sick, and no one works to their potential when sick. So how does this help anyone?

mjholt

As long as I know how to factor it into the wage/price equation, I'm okay with it. Just give me 9 months to adjust prices and wages before it's changed. I think universal health care is more important.

Rick

Eventually all of these so-called rights are going to condemn the U.S. to the trash bin of history.

Yes, if you are sick, your employer ought to treat it as an excused absence and you ought to get paid--but to make it a government regulation is the same as mandating another week plus of vacation days for everyone. This is typical of how our auto industry got in the economic mess it's in, and our public education professionals spend more time in "in service" days, spring, fall, midterm, and just for fun vacation days, etc.

Let's get real. What is this country--France?

Joshua

If we would just nationalize all businesses and run everything from a central account, we wouldn't have to worry about these silly problems. All of the workers would be able to shed the weight of the parasitic business owners and slave-driving management, and we would finally have the egalitarian utopia we workers have been dreaming of. From each according to his abilities, to each, according to his need. It is my fundamental right as a human being to have paid sick days. I don't care if the parasites in the corporate office have to lose out on a round of golf to give it to me.
--sarc

Steven Darien

Let's just make work optional and require companies to pay whether or not the employee produces anything useful. It would be just like in Congress.

What moron dreamed up this question? He or she has never had to run a business.

Jeff

Enough with the entitlement mentality. No one is entitled to a job and no one is entitled to benefits as a result of that job. They get a pay check.

Benefits are just that, "benefits" of the job and should not be mandated. The workplace, by nature, is competitive and if an employer does not offer the benefits that will attract good employees, they will not remain in business. The marketplace will dictate the benefit package.

Bottom line, if you do not like the benefits the job offers, go elsewhere.

NJB

In this debate, we have two opposing forces: those who appear to be overly capitalistic and those who appear to want a more socialistic economy. The capitalists do not want to budge because that would apparently infringe on their profits, while the socialists do not want to budge because they feel that they are not getting treated fairly. I agree with both sides; however, it is in the best interest of everyone involved to understand that without government involvement, the only thing that is fair to the American public is to let the businesses dictate policy. If a small business truly loses profits while workers are out sick, then they should not be forced to pay them. If a business can afford to pay for sick time, then by all means they should offer it. No matter what, this is America. America is allegedly a free market. Let's keep it that way. By the way, I currently work for a company that provides only unpaid sick time for hourly employees but paid sick time for those who are salaried. It is, however, a sales environment, and in sales your month can easily be ruined if you are out sick for an extended time. Not only are you penalized for being sick, you might not hit your sales quota, so you are hit with a double whammy. This debate has no clear winner, therefore, as an American citizen, it is your responsibility to choose which type of company you want to work for.

Rob

This is insane. I'm about to start a new small business (sold one a few months ago). I am reluctant to start it in the U.S.A. because of the growing climate of entitlement. I agree somewhat with NJB, that "...it is your responsibility to choose which type of company you work for." That is what makes this a "free market"--as long as government stays out of it.

Just as businesses compete for customers, they also compete for employees. Better pay and/or benefits drive different people. Some look at the benefits before they ever look at the salary. I am concerned that the government may soon require businesses to buy into a universal health care system run by them--they can't run the country, much less something like a health care system.

Let the free market work--if a business can get workers no other way, then the benefit will be there.

Jim

Let's see, where do we start? Oh, yeah, since world class metrics indicate a minimum of 98% attendance, why would we want to reward an attendance record that is below "world class"? Five days of absence equates to 2% absenteeism, and that must be the maximum allowable in any organization. Get the government out of business dictates. They can't manage their own business, let alone manage that of others.

Alberta Sunshine

Has anyone figured out that if you work more, you pay more taxes. We should all calculate our break even point including that second income and then decide whether we really want to work the longer hours. Business doesn't owe us anything, so why should it be mandatory to pay sick leave? There is pretty good evidence that a lot of people abuse a good thing. That's why we should choose where we want to work.

Lilia Garcia

We are struggling in our sluggish economy. Our contribution renews a sense of common purposes, and understands that health is synonymous with life. Every human being deserves to live with dignity and respect with all the rights that life deserves. Health is not an option for debate. It does not matter what kind of work, religion, form of life, or needs we have. Health is not a choice; it is the right to live.

Portlander

The "free market" for jobs has led to CEOs, even of failing companies, being paid 431 times what the average worker is paid. That is what unregulated capitalism gets you

Perhaps if we workers earned even 100 times what we currently earn, we could afford to quit our jobs because the benefits suck and still support our families while we look for a company that truly appreciates us.

Mel

Are we adults, or is the U.S. government our parents? Mandating how a company chooses to run its business goes against the freedoms that our country was based on, especially for private organizations that make it work without sick days.

If you are responsible enough to find a good-paying job, you should be responsible about how to spend your time off. You should also be able to decide when you are sick enough to stay home so as not to infect your fellow workers, and give your body an opportunity to recover.

More social programs and mandates will contribute to the demise of small businesses and the freedoms of privately held companies. If you don't like your benefits, go elsewhere. You were adult enough to find that job in the first place--weren't you?

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