In January 2012, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to mandate a paid sick leave policy for service workers. The Paid Sick Leave Act requires employers with fifty or more employees to provide up to a maximum of forty hours, or five days, of paid sick leave to eligible service worker employees. A service worker can include food service managers, health care providers, librarians, and more. Connecticut is not the only state that has a law like this already in place, and now it appears as though Massachusetts HR Legislation may be affected by the law as well.
In addition to Massachusetts, Vermont and Chicago could be the next areas to enact employer-paid sick leave laws in 2014. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) highlights the need for this law, reporting in October 2013 that almost 40 million U.S. employees, or about 40% of the nation’s private-sector workforce, currently have no right to any paid sick leave. They say that as a result, these employees commonly go back to work sick or leave their sick children home along because they fear being fired for missing work.
The EPI states that even if employees are not terminated for missing work, the loss of income they sufer takes a dramatic toll. Gordon Lafter, associate professor of political science and labor studies and the University of Oregon in Eugene, estimates that a typical family of four with two working parents who have no paid sick leave will have wiped out its entire health care budget for the year after just three missed days of work.
Although many see the benefits of implementing a paid sick leave law, there are opponents within the Massachusetts HR Legislation sector. Critics contend that this law will hurt employers, especially those in labor-intensive industries that have low profit margins and numerous temporary, part-time and seasonal workers. Critics also say that this law will have a huge impact on small employers, because large employers often already provide some sort of paid sick leave policy.
One concern that is shared by employers and employees is that there will be less hiring happening due to the law. In a report released in February 2013 titled “Paid Sick Leave in Connecticut: A Pilot Study of Businesses’ Responses to the Law”, it was stated that employers may also offer fewer raises, scale back on overtime, raise prices, and increase the cost of other benefits such as health insurance.
At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we understand that the HR landscape has changes significantly over the last several years. We can serve as your resource for Massachusetts HR Legislation Updates in addition to legislative updates throughout Connecticut and Florida, as part of our Massachusetts Human Resources Consulting Services. Please contact us for more information at (877) 602-2305.