Business fights back against mandatory sick time

The battle to require employers to offer sick time to all workers in Philadelphia continues to go on in City Council.  A Washington group is helping local opponents with research on the issue.

Michael Saltsman is a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute.  He said employers who do not offer paid sick time to their workers just can’t afford it.

“The ones that don’t generally wouldn’t have it because they are working for an industry and for an employer that’s really a low margin employer,” said Saltsman.  “If it’s a grocery store it’s maybe two to three cents in profit for every dollar, if it’s a restaurant maybe it’s five cents.”

Saltsman said a group supporting the legislation found it had unintended consequences in San Francisco.

“If you look closely at their table they actually found about 30 percent of the employees in the bottom fifth of wage earners reported reduced hours or layoffs at work after the sick leave mandate,” he said.

That same study also reports most of those workers feel they benefitted from the mandated sick-leave.

Supporters of the legislation say workers without sick time spread germs and viruses when they keep showing up–especially at restaurants.

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has taken out advertisements trying to stop the bill.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal