Two years ago in an Assembly race for the 24th District, I proposed a state focus on paid sick leave for those workers not covered.  I knew of models in Jersey City and other urban environs, but I looked at a Connecticut model.  On July 1 2011 Connecticut had become the first state in the nation to pass legislation requiring employers to allow workers to earn sick leave. 

Since that passage, studies have been undertaken in New Jersey Cities that employed paid sick leave in the environs of their cities for workers that work there, and outside workers spending considerable time in those areas.  The results were largely positive with only the New Jersey Business and Industry Association sharing some negative results.  In addition, Harvard Business Review (HBR) reported similar statistics and responses, and the Murphy Institute of the City University of New York, a school that I attended for doctoral studies, undertook an analysis via its Center for Economic and Policy Research of Connecticut’s experience. 

Connecticut was the first state to pass paid sick leave, and the CUNY Institute undertook a variety of research modalities, including surveys, visits, employer interviews (251), and other research methods, which indicated modest or little impact on the financial viability  of the organizations or the economy in that state.

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In Connecticut, part time workers were given coverage- a rarity-, as well as health, education social services; hospitality; and retail.  The above research efforts showed that a year and a half after implementation that more than three-quarters of surveyed employers expressed support for the earned paid sick leave law, and found little or no abuse. In fact, many did not use the leave at all!

Typically, most employers in the beginning of implemenatation believed that “five days of sick time not used would be viewed (by workers) as five days lost,” which employers saw as anti-business legislation. This was not the case for many employers who came around with a positive opinion.  Similarly, New Jersey studies found the same result!   Turn-over was lessened and there was no downward spiral in jobs lost!

Returning to the Connecticut study, after the implementation of paid sick leave in the state more than three- quarters of surveyed employers expressed support for the earned paid sick leave law.  As noted above paid sick leave laws have been passed in several cities, including San Francisco Washington, DC, Portland, Oregon, Jersey City, Newark, and New York City! Several states, including our state, North Carolina, and Vermont have introduced legislation.

This is something needed to give a parent a way to help his or her children or for a worker not to go to work sick.  I am happy that I ran on a version of paid sick leave, and I thank the current Administration in Washington for adding workers to the coverage.

Bill Weightman, Hardyston,