New Changes to Sick Time Pay Might Not Hurt Small Business After All

The ways in which workers are paid in this country seem to be changing rapidly these days, as federal mandates are being handed down about the minimum wage and overtime pay with regularity. However, a number of newly proposed alterations to how workers are paid when they’re out sick might not have as much of an impact on bottom lines as previously thought, despite some experts’ fears.

Many parts of the country may soon adopt new laws that would allow workers to collect pay when they’re forced to call out sick, and there is significant concern that putting such laws in place would dramatically affect the margins on which many small businesses operate, according to a report from the Associated Press. However, some in the industry also note that such rules exist in several cities already, such as Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and the entire state of Connecticut. New York City, Jersey City, and Newark also recently added such requirements.

While worker advocates say that this adds much needed financial security for workers, some are worried about the impact, the report said. Despite two bills getting to his desk from city legislators in recent months, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter has vetoed both on the grounds that they would do damage to many companies within city limits.

On the other hand
Recent research suggests that these worries might be ill-founded, however, the report said. Close to half of the Connecticut companies recently surveyed by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the City University of New York’s Murphy said that the law had no effect on their costs, while only 6.5 percent saw them rise by 5 percent or more. Further, a study in Washington, D.C., found that 88 percent of companies there had no plans to leave because of the law’s impact.

Owners worried about the impact of such a law being implemented in their areas might actually be able to do a little bit more to shore up their finances on their own, ahead of any such mandates. Taking the time to shop around for more affordable small business insurance policies, such as those for liability insurance and other types of coverage, might go a long way toward helping companies reduce costs by as much as a few thousand dollars per year, which can then be devoted toward solidifying other parts of the company instead.