Better Paid Sick Day Policies Don't Mean Job Loss

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Better Paid Sick Day Policies Don't Mean Job Loss

WASHINGTON - As Congress holds a hearing
today on the Healthy Families Act (HFA) - legislation that would
guarantee workers up to seven paid sick days per year - a new study
from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) finds that mandatory paid sick days do not lead to higher unemployment.

The report, "Paid Sick Days Don't Cause Unemployment,"
examines the connection between government-mandated paid sick days and
the national rate of unemployment in a sample of 22 highly developed
countries. The CEPR study found no statistically significant
relationship between national unemployment rates and legally-mandated
paid sick days in these countries, which all have the same level of
economic development as the United States.

Unemployment Rate (1989-2007) and Paid Sick Days

"Despite
frequent claims to the contrary from some in the business community, we
found no correlation between paid sick days and unemployment," said John Schmitt,
a Senior Economist at CEPR and a coauthor of the report. "Guaranteeing
paid sick days does not put countries at a competitive disadvantage."

Legislation like the Healthy Families Act, sponsored by Sen. Ted
Kennedy and Rep. Rosa Delauro, would give workers the right to take up
to seven paid sick days per year to recover from illness or care for
sick family members.

The findings of the report
yield no evidence suggesting that such policies will contribute to more
job loss here in the United States. However, these policies could pay
off economically by restricting the costly spread of contagious
diseases.

"The economic costs of a serious flu outbreak are potentially enormous,"  said Dr. Jody Heymann,
Director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy and Professor of
Epidemiology at McGill University and also a coauthor of the report.
"The lack of paid sick days in the United States puts Americans at
substantially greater risk of contagious diseases - from the flu which
kills thousands annually to diarrheal disease, respiratory infections,
and the threat of new diseases like the H1N1 flu virus."

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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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