One million Washington workers – or one-third of our state’s workforce – have no access to paid sick leave. In 2014, EOI is working to pass a statewide paid sick days bill. Two years ago, Connecticut implemented a statewide paid sick leave law, the first of its kind in the nation. A new survey of over 200 businesses found the law came with very low or nonexistent costs and led to higher employee morale and productivity.
The two researchers surveyed 251 employers in the state and conducted 15 site visits or interviews with business managers. Only 10 percent reported an increase in their payroll costs by 3 percent or more. A large majority, on the other hand, said it didn’t affect their business operations and they had either a small or nonexistent increase in cost. To deal with any costs, about 10 percent said they reduced employees’ hours and just over 15 percent increased their prices. Less than 4 percent reduced their operating hours, less than 2 percent reduced their quality of service, and only 1 percent reduced wages.
Employers reported that the law had strengthened their business, with almost three-fourths of them reporting that they support the law.
Meanwhile, the law now enjoys strong employer support, with more than three-quarters saying they are either very supportive or somewhat supportive, with most in the former camp. Employers also reported a variety of benefits from the law. Nearly 15 percent saw productivity increase, while about 30 percent saw improved morale and 12.5 percent experienced increased motivation. More than 10 percent said they saw more loyalty and 3.3 percent had a reduction in turnover. The health benefit was clear as well, as nearly 20 percent had fewer sick employees show up to work and about 15 percent reduced the spread of illnesses.