Paid Sick Leave in Maryland

by
mayland

Source: Family League of Baltimore 

In Maryland, an estimated 750,000 employees must make the difficult choice between caring for themselves when they are ill, and losing income or even their job. Yet, a paid sick leave policy has failed to pass the Maryland legislature in the last 4 years.

Opponents of paid sick leave, including business advocacy groups, express concerns about the economic burden on businesses and a negative impact on employers’ ability to hire additional employees. However, outcomes of states and cities in the US who have paid sick leave policies is evidence otherwise. After San Francisco mandated paid sick leave in 2007, 70 percent of employers reported no effect of the policy on profitability, and more than two-thirds of employers supported the policy. There were higher rates of job and business growth than neighboring counties, including the sectors most affected by the policy.   

Others recognize that paid sick leave is crucial to public health and the economy. During the H1N1 pandemic, employees attended work while sick, causing spread of infection to some 7 million co-workers in the USA alone. Paid sick leave also reduces the risk of workplace injuries. It has been recognized as a Human Right in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Other than increased healthcare costs due to more severe illnesses resulting from delay in seeking care, economic costs arise from lower productivity, in addition to collective costs of growing health and social inequalities. The lack of paid sick leave disproportionately affects workers in the service industry and those without a full-time job.

We call upon the Maryland Senate to build a legal basis for paid sick leave by passing the pending bill. The Maryland government has the responsibility to support the health of employees, the productivity of employers, and the public health of all Marylanders.

Paid_Sick_Leave

Source: Sick Leave in California 2017

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3 Responses to “Paid Sick Leave in Maryland”

  1. rsdoshi Says:

    Interesting post! I appreciate your comparison to other cities to make your point that sick leave ends up being beneficial rather than harmful. I also liked you pointing out that public health suffers. I feel like this kind of mentality is the same one that promotes us sending our children to school sick, simply because we cannot afford to take the time off. Other than the individual, who all are pushing for this bill to pass in Maryland, and how can we support them?

  2. allyshachoudhury Says:

    This was an interesting post, you made a great point when you discussed the dramatic public health impact of a lack of paid sick leave. Sick paid leave is especially important in the food and restaurant industry, where a sick employee could infect hundreds of other people with not only a flu virus, but for any bacterial or viral infection.

    It appears that the Maryland Senate is in the stage of passing a bill that will allow 6 days of paid leave per year (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/md-senate-gives-preliminary-approval-to-paid-sick-leave-bill/2017/03/10/fa6842b0-059d-11e7-ad5b-d22680e18d10_story.html), though the original House bill would have provided 7 days.

    Critics of sick paid leave often cite that such a law would hurt small family-owned businesses, however this Maryland legislation would only apply for businesses with 15 or more employers.

  3. mingzliu Says:

    I found this post very interesting and informative! I agree that you made a great point with the example of the H1N1 pandemic. I think a lot of the discussion on paid leave focuses on gained or lost productivity, and the public health impact is not often discussed. From a public health perspective, I agree that it is important to not build a culture where going to school or work while sick and infectious is the expectation for a hardworking employee/student. I also found your graphic to be very interesting, as it shows a racial disparity in employees that receive sick leave. I would be interested to know more about this. Does this have to do with the type of jobs, areas, etc?

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