MEDIA RELEASE: New Study: Benefits from Paid Sick Days "will substantially outweigh costs" in North Carolina

New Study: Benefits from Paid Sick Days "will substantially outweigh costs" in North Carolina
An analysis released today concludes that guaranteeing sick leave for workers "will save millions of dollars" while improving public health. The House bill will be heard in committee tomorrow, Tuesday, May. 5

WASHINGTON, DC (May 4, 2009) - A new study finds that guaranteeing North Carolina workers paid sick time would save millions of dollars and provide direct economic benefits to both employers and employees that far outweigh any costs.

A coalition of more than 30 organizations in North Carolina supports passage of the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act, which would require employers to supply workers a minimum amount of paid sick days each year. The Institute for Women's Policy Research, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., released this morning an executive summary analyzing the potential costs and benefits of the bill.

Their findings: half of North Carolina's workers - more than 1.6 million people - "will benefit directly," and employers would save, too. In fact, the report concludes, "benefits will substantially outweigh costs" for North Carolina businesses.

"This new research confirms what common sense tells us," said Louisa Warren of the NC Justice Center, coordinator of the NC Paid Sick Days Campaign. "When employees are no longer forced to come in to work while sick, public health and productivity will improve dramatically, benefiting businesses, workers and society as a whole."

Among the report's key findings:

  • 50 percent of workers (1.635 million private sector employees) will benefit directly
  • Benefits for employers, largely from reduced costs of employee turnover, will total $418 million annually.
  • The weekly cost of the policy for newly covered workers will be $6.39 per worker. Savings to businesses will be $8.69 per worker, for a net savings of $2.30 per worker per week.
  • Workers will save $9 million annually on medical costs and short-term nursing home stays for relatives.

On the heels of IWPR's research, the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act (HB 177) will be heard in the House Commerce Committee this Tuesday, May 5.  Members from the NC Paid Sick Days coalition will be speaking in favor of the legislation. The hearing occurs 15 minutes after the legislative session ends for the day.  
The report is available online at:

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jeff Shaw, communications director, NC Justice Center, 919.863.2402 (office), 503.551.3615 (mobile); Louisa Warren, NC Paid Sick Days Campaign Coordinator 919.856.2183 (office), 919.961.3360 (mobile);