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Paid sick leave in NYC a ‘non-event’ for employers, researchers conclude

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New York – A paid sick leave law that went into effect in April 2014 in New York City is a “non-event” that has not been misused by workers or proven costly to employers, according to a report from researchers at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Murphy Institute at the City University of New York.

Under the law, workers at private-sector companies and nonprofit organizations that employ at least five people accrue one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours worked. The law impacts nearly 4 million workers in New York City – the largest of seven U.S. jurisdictions to provide workers with paid sick leave.

Critics of the law claimed it would result in job loss, increased costs that would hit small businesses particularly hard and worker misuse. However, researchers found that of 352 employers surveyed, 98 percent reported no abuse of the law, 86 percent support the law and about 85 percent said it did not impact their business costs.

Additional findings:

  • Of the approximately 14 percent of employers who said their costs rose as a result of the law, only 2.7 percent reported an increase of 3 percent or more.
  • Workers tended to treat paid sick leave as “insurance” rather than as “entitlement,” taking only four days on average in the past year.
  • 97 percent of employers did not cut work hours, 94 percent did not increase prices and 91 percent did not reduce hiring.

“New York City provides strong evidence that implementing paid sick days has virtually no negative impact on employers. Paid sick days do, however, have a huge positive impact for workers. These findings show that there are sound reasons for cities and states to reevaluate their paid sick days laws,” CEPR researcher Eileen Appelbaum said in a press release.

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