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November 13, 2007
Paid Sick Leave: On Your State's 2008 Ballot?
The question of whether employers should be required to offer paid sick leave could be put to the voters of several states in 2008, according to a USA Today article.

The newspaper reports that while no state has yet passed a mandatory sick leave law, legislators in at least 13 states have put forth proposals that would require employers to provide sick leave. These include Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families, a group that promotes benefits for workers.

About a year ago, voters in San Francisco approved a ballot measure that requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees in the city. (Read BLR's article regarding the details of this law here.)

The USA Today article notes that, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43 percent of workers in the private sector--or approximately 50 million people--are not paid for sick time. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have spoken out in favor of the idea, the newspapaper reports. Meanwhile business groups, afraid of the hidden costs associated with mandatory sick leave, are speaking out against the idea, saying it could force employers to cut other costs, including employee benefits.

"Paid sick leave isn't free," Ty Pine, legislative director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Ohio, told USA Today. "Show me where the law guarantees the business owner extra revenue to cover the costs."

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