Sick leave mandate would be another blow against young workers

Proponents of the mandatory sick leave ordinance (as is typically the case with feel-good policies like the minimum wage) are touting the benefits of yet another new government mandate. Unfortunately, as a new study using data from Connecticut which adopted mandatory sick leave in 2012, the reality is that mandatory sick leave will hurt young workers (who area already leaving New Mexico).

The report, by Dr. Thomas Ahn of the University of Kentucky, is the first to examine multiple years of Census Bureau data (2012-2014) on the impact of Connecticut’s first-in-the-nation state paid sick leave law. To isolate the effects of the paid sick leave law, Dr. Ahn compares Connecticut to the five surrounding New England states, and controls for other relevant economic factors that might be responsible for changes in employment.

Dr. Ahn finds that the fraction of employees working at companies with paid sick leave benefits rises from virtually zero at ages 18 to 20 to about 70 percent for workers in their mid-30s and above. He thus expects a new benefit mandate to have the greatest potential for negative impact on younger employees, who are less likely to have the benefit currently.

Among his findings:

Younger employees in Connecticut aged 20-34 saw a 24-hour reduction in annual hours worked. For a part-time employee in the service industry, that’s the equivalent of roughly one lost week of work per year. These employees lost $850 per year in annual income, the equivalent of 3.5 fewer pre-tax paychecks for someone working part-time at the state’s minimum wage.

There are also other consequences to consider: In forthcoming research, Dr. Ahn and his colleague Dr. Aaron Yelowitz find that recent paid sick leave policies in the United States have increased employee absenteeism by 1.2 days per year. Notably, these absences do not tend to occur in times of the most severe influenza outbreaks—suggesting that employees may be using the benefit even when they’re not sick.

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2 Replies to “Sick leave mandate would be another blow against young workers”

  1. It’s important to examine and study the ORIGINAL fair workweek ordinance that is headed for the ballot – NOT some summary commented on by a special interest group. Here is a link to the original Albuquerque City Council ordinance. It is a mess. Study it. Think about it. Why would an out of state employer considering expanding to the Southwest want to come to Albuquerque when he can expand to El Paso, Tucson or Colorado Springs – cities that are more business friendly.

  2. Very good data showing the effects of mandated regs on business and the end result for workers.
    This also illustrates the danger of the Voter Initiative Act in the hands of uneducated, low information voters.

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