Employers Oppose Mandated Paid Sick Leave

The Healthy Workplace Act -- Senate Bill 1296 and House Bill 2771  minimum of 5 days of paid sick leave to their employees, both full-time and part-time. Employees would accrue 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, accruing up to 56 hours annually.  The employee would have to be employed for 180 days before taking paid time off.

Why employers oppose this paid sick leave mandate:  One size does not fit all: Small businesses are hurt disproportionally with this mandate.  They survive on the slimmest of margins and often have highly fluctuating revenue as well as staffing needs. They have fewer means to handle the increased costs that will certainly come with this mandate.

Flexibility:  Employers and employees need flexibility when determining what type of leave benefits work best for them.  SB 1296 and HB 2771 take away that flexibility. If a business offers paid time off, not designated strictly as sick or vacation time, they will have to change existing systems to accommodate the mandate.  Businesses will be forced to adjust other time off benefits and reduce schedule flexibility which ultimately hurts employees.

Exemptions:  Amendments to both bills create exemptions for the construction businesses with CBAs, school and park districts and City of Chicago sister agencies. This illustrates the problematic and costly nature of the paid leave mandate. But all other industries and business would continue to be unfairly burdened.

Job growth:  This is another chilling effect on job growth as small businesses struggle to make a profit even in this post-recession environment. Many will consider other cost-cutting measures including whether to keep current staffing levels or eliminate positions.

Benefits? A City of Seattle Auditor survey of businesses complying with their paid leave law showed:

  • Over 98% of businesses reported the mandate did not reduce employee turnover;
  • Over 94% of businesses reported no reduction in the number of employees who came to work sick;
  •  Over 95% of businesses reported no change in customer service;
  • Over 90% of businesses reported no change in employee morale.

Need? U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics shows a steady increase of businesses of all sizes offering paid time off (PTO) that can be used for a variety of personal reasons, not just sick time. In fact, over 80% of employers with 1 – 250 employees offer PTO of some sort. And the majority of those offer 7 - 14 days annually. 

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Welcome to the Illinois Construction Industry Committee's legislative advocacy site. This site affords Illinois construction contractors the opportunity to fully and easily participate in the legislative process. From here, you can obtain information about key issues impacting the commercial construction industry and take immediate action to let your elected representatives know what you think. It's one more tool we're using to make sure your voice - the voice of Illinois contractors - is heard when important decisions are being made in Springfield.