sick days

sick days

In November 2011, voters in Denver rejected a ballot initiative that would have required businesses to give employees paid sick time. The initiative would have provided all employees (full-time, part-time and temporary) within the geographic boundaries of Denver with 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Paid sick leave would be limited to 9 days per year for businesses with 10+ employees, and 5 days per year for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. This sick leave could be used for the employee’s own care or to care for an individual “related by blood or affinity whose close relationship with an employee is equivalent to a family relationship.”


1. Paid sick days would make the city a healthier place to live. Workers are forced to choose between going to work sick rather than lose wages, putting everyone’s health at risk.

2. Paid sick days would allow workers to care for their sick children. Children recover from illness faster when a parent is able to care for them.

3. Paid sick days are good for business, because healthy employees are more efficient and productive. By improving productivity and reducing turnover, paid sick days save businesses nearly $600 a year for each covered full-time worker.

4. Paid sick days strengthen the economy by helping workers keep their jobs. Economists say job retention policies like paid sick days help reduce unemployment and strengthen the economy.


1. The economy is struggling, and our focus should be on putting people back to work. This is the worst possible time to impose additional financial burdens on small businesses.

2. Mandatory paid time off for sick leave increases labor, administrative and legal costs, and the additional requirements place small businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

3. Provisions in mandated paid sick leave legislation make it easy to abuse, leading to scheduling problems and absenteeism, which are hardships on co-workers and employers alike.

4. Additional costs may cost jobs, deter new hiring, and would certainly stifle economic recovery. Small businesses are unfairly targeted. Government-mandated, one-size-fits-all policies don’t make sense.

This isn’t an issue that is unique to Denver. Seattle, San Francisco and Washington DC have already adopted similar legislation, and many other cities and states are evaluating similar legislation. You decide. Do your own research and then tell us: Should sick days be mandated by legislation? Why or why not? Would your position change if you were an employer as opposed to an employee?

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