Marilyn Watkins: The fiscal impact of paid sick days

Good afternoon. I’m Marilyn Watkins with the Economic Opportunity Institute.

I’d like to address 2 areas of fiscal impact on the state from paid sick leave: the state as an employer and state budget savings from a healthier state population.

Multiple studies have found that employer‐provided paid sick leave is a benefit that pays for itself. Any actual costs to the state as an employer are likely to be minimal.

Sick leave results in higher morale and productivity, and lower rates of turnover. When workers show up to work sick, it actually costs employers more than if they stayed home and got well.

The ill employee operates below par, and puts coworkers at risk as well, from both infection and potential accidents. In fact, a recent CDC study finds workers with Paid Sick Days are 28% less likely to be injured at work, meaning fewer workers comp claims.

Most people do not use all the sick leave they have available. According to national data and data from San Francisco, where employers are required to provide sick leave, workers with paid sick leave take on average 2 to 3 days per year, although workers who do receive sick leave accrue on average 9 days per year.

Assuring most workers in private industry have sick leave provides all these benefits to private employers as well. It can also result in reduced health care costs, and thus cost savings to the state.

A recent analysis found that workers with paid sick leave make fewer visits to the emergency room. Studies show children and people of all ages recover more quickly from illness with a parent present.

Children in families with lower incomes are much less likely to have a parent with access to sick leave than higher income children, affecting the older child’s educational outcomes. About 1/3 of children in families with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level had a parent with access to paid sick leave, compared to 81% of higher income children.

Passing HB 1313 will be good for the state fiscally, as well as supporting the health and well being of our whole population. Please support paid sick and safe leave.

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