Employees Get Sick. Should They Be Paid?

Employees Get Sick. Should They Be Paid? zimmytws - Fotolia

There is no law requiring private employers provide paid sick leave to employees. Attorney Brett Snider explores whether that should change on FindLaw’s Free Enterprise.

He says private employers with 50 or more employees are required by federal law to provide up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid sick leave for serious illnesses or family care, but companies with fewer employees are not forced to offer sick leave unless directed by state or local law.

Opponents of paid sick leave argue employers should be able to choose their own policies.

A FindLaw.com survey shows three out of four Americans support mandatory paid sick leave and a 2012 American Journal of Public Health study found those working in companies with such policies are 28 percent less likely to be injured at work. Fewer injuries mean a potential decrease in lawsuits, says Snider.

San Francisco was the first city to have mandatory sick leave. Snider says others have followed suit, including Seattle, Portland and Washington, D.C. Since 2009, Congress has considered the idea, but a handful of states bar cities from requiring sick leave.

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