The Adverse Unintended Consequences of Paid Sick Leave

  1. GA Anderson profile image90
    GA Andersonposted 4 years ago

    To correctly reflect the point of this blog post the title should be expanded to:

    The Adverse Unintended Consequences of [Government Mandated] Paid Sick Leave

    "Democrats in Congress have a cure for the coronavirus crisis: a nationwide paid sick-leave mandate. …

    Ms. Murray and Ms. DeLauro began advocating such a policy in 2004 and have clearly internalized Rahm Emanuel’s immortal political advice that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” …

    San Francisco was the first locality to require paid sick leave, starting in 2007. The law brought modest benefits and significant costs. A 2011 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found nearly 30% of the lowest-wage earners reported layoffs or reduced hours…

    Connecticut’s sick-leave policy was the focus of a 2016 study…, which found a “sizeable decrease in labor demand” as a consequence of the mandate. …The coronavirus’s domestic arrival in these two states complicates Ms. Murray’s promise that a paid-leave mandate could “prevent” its spread. …

    Why didn’t paid-leave regimes in California and Washington prevent the spread of the disease, as Ms. Murray imagines?

    According to Johns Hopkins researchers, it takes five days on average for coronavirus symptoms to present. …

    The relative benefits and consequences of paid sick leave must be considered carefully. Using a pandemic to justify its swift enactment would result in ineffective policy that may hurt the workers it’s meant to help."

    Source: Dan Mictchell - he Adverse Unintended Consequences of Paid Sick Leave

    To be clear, the point is about permanent government-mandated paid leave laws, not temporary government involvement, (read government paid), in emergency situations like this Coronavirus crisis.


    1. Credence2 profile image79
      Credence2posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I may have to say that the concept may well be an administrative nightmare in its application. I would probably like this issue addressed in a different way.

  2. Nathanville profile image92
    Nathanvilleposted 4 years ago

    Paid Sick Leave:  I don’t know how it operates in the USA; obviously, because I’m a Brit.

    So all I can do is state (in general) how it operates in the UK, and leave it to you to tell me how that compares to the USA!

    One would think it was a ‘Socialist Policy’, but in the UK Statutory Sick Pay (SSL) was introduced by Margaret Thatcher (Conservative Government) in 1983.

    In the UK the large Companies e.g. UK-Ford, IBM, Banks, Government Employees, Utility Companies etc., have always (at least since the 2nd world war) given their staff ‘Paid Sick Leave’ e.g. full pay while on sick leave; known as ‘Occupational Scheme’ negotiated between Employers and Trade Unions as part of the firms ‘Contract of Employment’.  That hasn’t changed over the years.  Generally, under the ‘Occupational Schemes’ operated by the BIG Companies, employees get full pay while on sick leave for the first six months, then half pay for the next six months, if they happen to have a serious illness that keeps them off work for that long e.g. serious ill due to cancer.

    The Statutory Sick Pay is only relevant to the small and some medium sized Companies who can’t afford to pay their staff full pay for being off sick; hence Government intervention by the Conservative Government in 1983 to protect the vulnerable from not getting any money when off sick.

    The way Statutory Sick Pay works in the UK, is that if you don’t work for a big Company that has a negotiated agreement with the Unions as part of the ‘Occupational Scheme’ under the Contract of Employment, then by Law your Company has to pay you ‘sick pay’ from the 4th day of sickness for up to 28 weeks (6.5 months).  But acknowledging that small firms can’t afford to pay you your full wages while you are off sick the Statutory Sick Pay your Company has to pay you (by Law) is set at the flat rate of £94.25 ($115) per week, which isn’t much but in Government Theory it is just enough to pay for essential bills and food in the UK.  But it is worth a lot more than it sounds because for example, unlike the USA, Healthcare in the UK is Free to all (at the point of use) so people don’t have the added expense of Health Insurance.

    The changes the British Government is making to the scheme, due to the COVID-19 virus, is that employees will (for the duration of the epidemic) get Statutory Sick Pay from day 1 and not day 4.

    Obviously Statutory Sick Pay doesn’t apply to the self-employed, but in the UK, with a lot of hassle (paperwork) the self-employed may be able to get paid sick leave paid directly from the Government of £73.10 ($90) per week via ESA (Employment and Support Allowance); which was introduced by the Labour Government in 2008.


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