Did you know that nearly half of all Americans who work in the private sector (including more than 75% of low-wage workers) do not get a single paid sick day? I sure didn’t…while I figured that the number was pretty high I did not imagine that a full half of the working population doesn’t get sick days! A recent article mentioned that this is about to change:
“Now the federal government and lawmakers in 14 states are proposing legislation that would require employers to provide paid sick days. While polls show that Americans strongly support the idea, businesses are concerned about the cost. “Employers have finite resources,” says Lisa Horn of the Society for Human Resource Management. “A paid-leave mandate would likely force employers to make up the cost by reducing wages or health-care coverage.””
However, as much as companies will complain about their bottom line, I fully believe that their bottom line is harmed more by employees who come to work sick. They can make other employees sick, they are not as productive as healthy employees, and a company providing at least a few sick days is more likely to retain employees as it is seen as a valuable benefit. Most of the companies I worked for here in Los Angeles (mostly movie studios) did not even have official sick day policies…we were told in orientation to just not take advantage and they would not count our sick days. And sure enough, people for the most part did not take advantage of the lack of policy, as they felt like the company was putting some trust and faith in them as people. For every person that might possibly take advantage of any sick day policy, there are bound to be at least 20 that wouldn’t…and who would appreciate the fact that if they were sick they could stay home and still get paid for it. I am a big believer in treating people like adults and making them a valued and important part of any company, and providing a few paid sick days is part of that belief. If the guys at the top get paid days off, then so should the guys at the bottom; it’s just common decency. You have to trust and support your employees if you want them to return the favor.
Photo by ghindo