Only a short time after Florida Gov. Rick Scott axed paid sick leave opportunities for workers, the New York City council passed a law, overriding Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, that will entitle workers to paid sick leave, a huge win for the progression of American labor rights.
The new law dictates that companies employing at least 15 people are required to provide workers with five days of leave, and companies employing less than 15 aren’t required but still have to offer it. Over 1 million New York City workers are expected to be affected by the new law, and New York will join with other major cities that have passed similar legislations, despite executive opposition to the bills.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, like Gov. Scott, thinks that the law will damage small businesses: “Faced with this increase in costs, employers will seek to offset them in any number of ways, . . . It will harm the very people it seeks to help.” However, studies have determined otherwise.
According to a study by Public Citizen, after paid sick leave legislation was passed in San Francisco, employment increased 3.5 percent between 2006 and 2010 and 70 percent of companies reported either “no impact or positive impact” on profits. It has also been shown that workers with paid sick leave tend to be healthier.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control indicated that “workers with paid sick leave are 28 percent less likely to suffer nonfatal work-related injuries.” On that stat alone, it seems that just the implementation of paid sick leave is a self-remedy. If 28 percent less people are hurting themselves, that means 28 percent less people are actually having miss work. And that only means an increase in a company’s production if anything. Therefore, the CDC’s findings match up with that of Public Citizen. Healthy workers who are provided for are happy workers, and happy workers are productive workers.
Companies and corporate proponents are still refusing to acknowledge these findings, though. They continue to live in this reality where workers are merely instruments, as expendable and replaceable as a Craftsman socket wrench. Instead of putting in the work to maintain their labor force, corporate laziness and greed devoids itself of any notion of humanity.
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.