In a letter published by the Connecticut Post, (“In defense of findings on sick-leave law,” Feb. 20), Michael Saltsman cites a study by his organization, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) to support a conservative agenda opposed to Connecticut’s paid sick days law.
The Employment Policies Institute was established by Richard Berman, the president of the lobbying and consulting firm Berman & Company, Inc (BCI). Under the umbrella of BCI, Berman has run at least 23 industry-funded projects against consumer interests, including countering scientific evidence of harmful levels of mercury in fish.
EPI’s study on the business response to sick days in Connecticut surveyed only businesses chosen by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and the Connecticut Restaurant Association. The study mentions that a number of the businesses surveyed took actions “to account for the cost of the new law,” but provides no evidence of any costs incurred. A study by the Institute for Women‘s Policy Research (IWPR) found that businesses in Connecticut would save $2.5 million under the law because reduced turnover costs would more than cover the expenses of providing paid sick days to employees.
As Margot Dorfman, head of the U.S. Women‘s Chamber of Commerce, points out in the Connecticut Post op-ed that originally got Saltsman on the defensive (“Paid sick days a boon for state,” Feb. 13), restaurants in the state have continued to grow. Likewise, research from IWPR found that employment in San Francisco grew more than in surrounding counties (with the exception of San Mateo) after the implementation of that city’s paid sick days law.
Unlike much of the research by industry-funded groups, IWPR’s research on paid sick days is very strongly supported by methodological explanations, citations and appendices full of data, and has been peer-reviewed by scholars across the country.
Myriad evidence illustrates that the benefits of paid sick days far outweigh the costs. When workers come to work ill, businesses lose out in productivity, and a recent CDC study found that employees are more likely to be injured on the job. IWPR research has found that paid sick days also save taxpayers money through reduced emergency department and nursing home usage.
Offering paid sick days to employees means creating a better, safer community for all. Organizations that oppose these benefits seem to be suggesting that avoiding any new requirements on business, however inexpensive, should be valued more highly than protecting public health and worker safety, broader gains to the economy, and cost-savings for businesses themselves.