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Paid sick leave ordinances

Health Factors: Employment
Decision Makers: Community Development Professionals Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 20-49% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Paid sick leave ordinances require employers under the local jurisdiction to provide paid time off to employees for use when ill or injured. Sick employees may use the time to see a physician or stay home until they are healthy enough to work again, without concern for lost wages. It is estimated that 38% of employed adults in the US do not have access to paid sick leave (Peipins 2012); individuals with paid sick leave tend to have higher incomes than those without (Cook 2011, Clemans-Cope 2008, CWF-Collins 2004). Some local governments cannot enact such measures due to state preemption legislation (Grassroots Change).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased access to health care
Improved health outcomes
Increased job stability
Increased use of parental leave

Evidence of Effectiveness

Paid sick leave ordinances are a suggested strategy to improve access to health care and health outcomes for individual employees and the wider population (NPHL-Baker-White). Available evidence suggests that paid sick leave may be associated with greater use of physician services (Peipins 2012, Cook 2011), including cancer screenings (Peipins 2012). Access to paid sick leave may also increase job stability (Hill 2013, Clemans-Cope 2008) and the likelihood that low income parents take leave when their children have health problems (Clemans-Cope 2008). Lack of access to paid sick leave may increase the risk of illness for individuals and the spread of contagious illness among the wider population (Kumar 2012).

An early assessment of San Francisco’s paid sick leave ordinance suggests minimal negative impact on business; six out of seven businesses reported no profit losses (NPHL-Baker-White, Urban-Waters Boots 2009). 

Implementation

United States

As of April 2016, Vermont, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and Connecticut have enacted statewide sick leave laws, and 27 municipalities also enacted local sick leave ordinances (FVW-Paid sick days). State legislation pre-empts laws related to leave in 13 states (Grassroots Change). The federal Healthy Families Act, allowing all employed Americans to earn paid sick leave, has been proposed on multiple occasions, but has not been enacted.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin does not have a paid sick leave requirement. The city of Milwaukee passed a paid sick leave ordinance by referendum in 2008 that was pre-empted by state legislation in 2011 (NPHL-Baker-White).

Implementation Resources

CDC-TWH - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Total worker health (TWH). Accessed on November 30, 2015
SF-PSLO - City & County of San Francisco. Paid sick leave ordinance (PSLO). Accessed on November 9, 2015

Citations - Description

Clemans-Cope 2008 - Clemans-Cope L, Perry CD, Kenney GM, Pelletier JE, Pantell MS. Access to and use of paid sick leave among low-income families with children. Pediatrics. 2008;122(2):e480-6. Accessed on December 10, 2015
Cook 2011 - Cook WK. Paid sick days and health care use: An analysis of the 2007 National Health Interview Survey data. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2011;54(10):771-9. Accessed on December 8, 2015
CWF-Collins 2004 - Collins SR, Davis K, Doty MM, Ho A. Wages, health benefits, and workers’ health. New York: The Commonwealth Fund (CWF); 2004: Issue Brief #788. Accessed on December 8, 2015
Grassroots Change - Grassroots Change. Connecting for better health. Accessed on February 13, 2017
Peipins 2012 - Peipins LA, Soman A, Berkowitz Z, White MC. The lack of paid sick leave as a barrier to cancer screening and medical care-seeking: Results from the National Health Interview Survey. BMC Public Health. 2012;12(1):520. Accessed on November 9, 2015

Citations - Evidence

Clemans-Cope 2008 - Clemans-Cope L, Perry CD, Kenney GM, Pelletier JE, Pantell MS. Access to and use of paid sick leave among low-income families with children. Pediatrics. 2008;122(2):e480-6. Accessed on December 10, 2015
Cook 2011 - Cook WK. Paid sick days and health care use: An analysis of the 2007 National Health Interview Survey data. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2011;54(10):771-9. Accessed on December 8, 2015
Hill 2013* - Hill HD. Paid sick leave and job stability. Work & Occupations. 2013;40(2):143–73. Accessed on November 10, 2015
Kumar 2012* - Kumar S, Quinn SC, Kim KH, Daniel LH, Freimuth VS. The impact of workplace policies and other social factors on self-reported influenza-like illness incidence during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. American Journal of Public Health. 2012;102(1):134–40. Accessed on November 18, 2015
NPHL-Baker-White - Baker-White A. Calling in sick: Analyzing the legal, political and social feasibility of paid sick leave ordinances. Saint Paul: The Network for Public Health Law (NPHL). Accessed on November 9, 2015
Peipins 2012 - Peipins LA, Soman A, Berkowitz Z, White MC. The lack of paid sick leave as a barrier to cancer screening and medical care-seeking: Results from the National Health Interview Survey. BMC Public Health. 2012;12(1):520. Accessed on November 9, 2015
Urban-Waters Boots 2009 - Waters Boots S, Martinson K, Danziger A. Employers' perspectives on San Francisco's paid sick leave policy. Washington, DC: Urban Institute; 2009. Accessed on November 20, 2015

Citations - Implementation

FVW-Paid sick days - Paid sick days wins. Family Values at Work (FVW). Accessed on May 4, 2016
Grassroots Change - Grassroots Change. Connecting for better health. Accessed on February 13, 2017
NPHL-Baker-White - Baker-White A. Calling in sick: Analyzing the legal, political and social feasibility of paid sick leave ordinances. Saint Paul: The Network for Public Health Law (NPHL). Accessed on November 9, 2015

Page Last Updated

March 10, 2015

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