Starting in February, the first mandatory sick leave ordinance goes into effect in San Francisco. In November, 61% of voters passed a law requiring local companies to provide up to nine sick days annually. On a federal level, Senatory Edward Kennedy has put a paid sick leave measure on the agenda which would require all employers with at least 15 workers to offer seven sick days annually to full-time employees to care for themselves or a family member. It would also cover those who work between 20 and 30 hours each week.
While advocates maintain that the manadatory sick leave law is a good thing that will save companies money and decrease employee turnover, others are not so sure. Many businesses are concerned as to how they will be able to administratively track sick leave hours for employees, deal with last minute “sick” call-ins by employees, and how it will impact companies that have flex time policies in place.
Hopefully, somewhere in the middle common ground will be found that addresses the needs of employees while allowing employers to remain competitive in a global market. Particularly, when the costs of handling mandatory sick leave may be passed on to the consumer as part of the expense of “doing business”.