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Earned Paid Sick Days in Philadelphia Would Benefit Business, Reduce Health Care Costs

The report is available on IWPR's website

February 1, 2013

Washington, DC—Providing paid sick days is expected to save Philadelphia employers more than half a million per year, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The city’s proposed paid sick days legislation under Chapter 9-3300, would not only reduce costs to employers in Philadelphia, but would also reduce the spread of contagious diseases yielding further public health costs savings.

Of the over 543,000 private sector workers in Philadelphia, about 123,900 currently have no paid leave benefits of any kind and are eligible to receive new leave under the proposed new legislation.

“Providing paid sick days makes sense for businesses and it’s time to do the right thing to protect workers, reduce the spread of contagious illness, and improve public health,” said Barbara Gault, Vice President and Executive Director of IWPR.

Additional research has found that having paid sick days reduces the rate employees voluntarily leave jobs by three to six percentage points. Workers value paid sick days and are more likely to return to a job that provides them following a health care crisis.

Paid sick days can also reduce both business and public health costs by cutting down on the spread of disease at work, helping employers avoid paying for low productivity, holding down nursing-home stays, reducing norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes, and preventing unnecessary hospital emergency department visits.

IWPR’s analysis has found that workers typically take fewer paid sick days than they earn, using the benefit as a form of health insurance to rest or seek care in the event of an illness. When workers receive a maximum of seven days off work for paid sick days, they miss an average of 1.6 days annually for illness and injury, excluding maternity leave. When they receive four days, workers with paid sick days miss an average of 1.2 days.

About half of all workers who are covered by paid sick days plans do not take any days off for illness or injury in a given year.

“This report confirms that earned sick days is smart economically because it saves businesses money, keeps workers in their jobs, and protects protect public health,” said Marianne Bellesorte, Senior Director of Public Policy and Media Relations at PathWays PA. “Earned sick days is a modest policy that will have a big impact and Philadelphia, and our city’s economy will be healthier for it.”

When workers can take needed time off without fear of being fired, they and their families can obtain necessary health care more promptly, leading to improved health outcomes, speedier recoveries, and reduced total health care spending.

The report is available on IWPR's website

About the Institute for Women's Policy Research
IWPR conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women's studies and public policy programs at The George Washington University.


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