Several states are currently considering mandated employer-paid sick leave requirements. Currently, Florida is among a bevy of other states in which campaigns are underway to require paid sick leave for all workers. This important employee rights issue has certainly been contentious, as about 40 percent of Americans are employed without paid sick leave.
Many employees are forced to attend work while sick, or they have to leave their children at home alone when they suffer an illness. Florida workers are often nervous that they will be subject to illegal workplace discrimination simply because they are sick. In many households, just three days of illness will eliminate an entire health care budget for the year.
Employee rights advocates say that low-wage workers suffer because they are not provided with adequate benefits from their employers. Paid sick leave has traditionally been considered an optional benefit; now, in certain states, employers can face serious consequences for denial of benefits for sick time. This is particularly important as a large number of workers lose their jobs every year because they are forced to take unpaid sick leave.
Opponents say the new laws would come along with crushing costs. Employers would be required to absorb additional costs for workers who are provided with paid sick leave because those employees simply will not be there to produce. Further, employers would be required to keep up with paperwork and recordkeeping to prove compliance, which would introduce another cost.
Ultimately, employee benefits should accommodate workers whose health status becomes uncertain. Employers have the responsibility to provide employee benefits that are mandated by their municipality. Victims who believe they have been subject to illegal workplace discrimination or wrongful termination because of illness may benefit from the advice of a Florida employment attorney.
Source: Bloomberg, “Debate Over Mandated Paid Sick Leave Heats Up With State, Local Legislative Action” Rhonda Smith, Mar. 03, 2014