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Business owners agree: Paid sick days help them turn a profit

November 5, 2010

We’ve pointed out before that a minimum paid sick days standard is good for businesses. It helps keep employees productive, workplaces healthy and businesses profitable – not to mention preserve public health by ensuring sick workers don’t infect others. Well guess what? More than a few business owners agree.

In a recent article published in thehill.com, two small business owners in Texas write about why their employees don’t need workplace flexibility – they also need a minimum standard of paid sick time:

It’s essential that flexibility also includes paid time off. We want workers to stay home when they’re sick and not infect others – and they can’t if the time isn’t paid, or if taking off routinely results in discipline.

It is reasonable to assume people (and their children) will get sick. If employees are unable to earn paid sick days, they are far more likely to go to work sick, infecting others employees, customers, and lowering workplace productivity. These business owners understand that providing paid sick days doesn’t just help keep their employees productive at work. It keeps them out of the workplace when they are ill, giving them time to recover without losing a paycheck.

These two in Texas aren’t the only ones. At KPMG, flexible work hours allow workers to be productive employees, without sacrificing their duties as parents or caregivers. And in San Francisco, which adopted a paid sick days requirement in 2007, both the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association have noted that earned sick time had not caused undue hardships for members. The Executive Director of the Restaurant Association has even gone as far as to say, “paid sick days ‘is the best public policy for the least cost.’”

It’s not enough for these to be voluntary standards, as those small business owners in Texas tell us:

We appreciate the government’s role educating employers and encouraging best practices. But it also must set reasonable labor standards, such as paid sick days and family leave insurance plans. That gives employers like us a level playing field. And it guarantees a minimum of protection to ALL workers.

Allowing all workers to take a day off without penalty when they or they children get sick can save the business thousands of dollars in lost productivity, wages, and health care costs. Paid sick days help workers and businesses alike maintain economic stability, especially during times of economic uncertainty.

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