The benefits of requiring paid sick days for workers would offset the costs by improving public health and employee retention, supporters of state legislation that would require such time said this morning.
A House bill would make employers provide up to seven days of paid sick time per year so that workers can tend to illness without fear of losing income, Jonathan Cox reports.
Forty-two percent of workers in North Carolina, or 1.6 million people, lack such a benefit, according to numbers provided by the N.C. Justice Center, which advocates for the poor and is pushing for passage of the legislation.
"Everyone gets sick," said Rep. Alma Adams, a Guilford County Democrat and primary sponsor of the legislation. "Unfortunately, not everyone has a fair chance to get better."
Employers, though, say that imposing such a mandate would cause an onerous burden, especially during the grips of severe recession.
"Small businesses are struggling so much right now," said Gregg Thompson, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. "That additional expense could be very damaging."