Paid Sick Days Business FAQs


1. What is the current situation?

2. How is implementing a paid sick day standard beneficial to business?

                 * Cost Reduction

                 * Public Health

                 * Decreased Turnover

3. Why seven paid sick days?

4. Has a paid sick day standard been implemented elsewhere?



What is the current situation?


In Vermont, 57% of employers offer no paid sick days to their workers, leaving well over 100,000 Vermonters (42%) in the private-sector workforce without paid sick leave.


Low-wage workers and women are most acutely affected by the lack of paid sick days. National studies indicate that half of working mothers miss work when a child comes down with a common illness; they also report losing pay to care for a sick child.


How is implementing a paid sick day standard beneficial to business?


Cost Reduction:

Workers who come in sick cost our national economy $180 billion annually in lost productivity.  For employers, this costs an average of $255 per employee per year – exceeding the cost of absenteeism and medical disability benefits.


According to analysis by Vicky Lovell PhD, a researcher for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, paid sick days in Vermont can actually save employers money. In 2008, it was estimated to cost Vermont employers $6.10 per worker per week to provide paid sick days. However, Lovell also found by reducing costs associated with presenteeism and turnover implementing paid sick days would actually save Vermont employers $8.55 per worker every week. This saves employers $2.45 per worker per week, equating to an annual savings of up to $127 per employee.


Public Health:

When employers don’t provide paid sick days it results in more cases of what is known as “presenteeism”—a situation whereby employees arriving to work despite being ill. Presenteeism decreases productivity and increases the risk of infecting coworker and customers with disease.


In one case in Ohio, a worker at a Chipotle restaurant with the flu infected over 500 people – including coworkers and customers.  This outbreak cost the community over $305,000 in medical expenses and in lost economic opportunity.


Decreased Turnover:

Employees with paid sick days are less likely to leave their jobs and thus reduces turnover. Every time an employee leaves a job, it costs the employer 25% of that

worker’s total compensation, on average, across all industries, to replace that worker.  Recruitment of new employees lowers productivity by increasing the workload for human resources, supervisors and other employees.


Additionally, guaranteeing all working Vermonters paid sick days is a great method for attracting and retaining high quality workers in our state.  By providing competitive benefits that include paid sick days employers will have a happier, more productive workforce with reduced turnover.


Why seven paid sick days?


On average, Vermont businesses of all sizes offer a total of 6.6 paid sick days. Even Vermont’s small business with 1-9 workers offer an average of 6.4 paid sick days. Offering seven paid sick days would level the playing field for all Vermont businesses


Although the legislation asks for seven paid sick days it should be noted that statistics show that over half (54%) of workers who currently have paid sick days never use even a single day in an average year.

Has a paid sick day standard been implemented elsewhere?


In February 2007, San Francisco was the first city in the nation to require employers to provide workers paid sick leave.


As of October 2008, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has found that “job growth has been strong in San Francisco compared with other Bay Area counties… [and] San Francisco has maintained a competitive job growth rate that exceeds the average growth rate of nearby counties.” The city’s restaurant industry has also improved with an employment increase of 3.9%.


Researchers have found paid sick days do not negatively affect job growth. Washington, D.C. and Milwaukee, Wisconsin have also established paid sick days. Each of these three cities where a paid sick day standard has been implemented has a population roughly equivalent to the entire state of Vermont.



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