Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Paid Leave a Job Killer? Not the Case, Says New CAP Report
Press Release

RELEASE: Paid Leave a Job Killer? Not the Case, Says New CAP Report

Washington, D.C. — A new report by the Center for American Progress finds that paid sick days and paid family and medical leave laws are not job killers, despite critics’ claims that such policies have adverse economic effects. In fact, evidence suggests that such policies support businesses and local economies by decreasing costly turnover, saving on health care costs, and boosting productivity.

CAP’s report builds upon existing research supporting paid family and medical leave and paid sick days to demonstrate that these policies do not lead to increased unemployment.

“All too often, critics of paid sick days and paid family and medical leave laws claim that these policies would kill jobs and be detrimental to businesses. But research indicates that such laws aren’t job killers and can have positive effects on businesses and local economies,” said Kate Bahn, an economist at CAP and co-author of the analysis. “Ensuring that workers have access to paid time off can, in fact, reduce turnover and help workplaces become healthier and more productive.”

Today, a number of U.S. states, cities, and counties have laws that require businesses to provide workers with paid sick days. CAP’s analysis shows that in 16 of 19 cities and states where paid sick day laws were passed between 2007 and July 2015, unemployment had not risen one year after the implementation of paid sick days. In two of the three cities where unemployment did increase, implementation of the paid sick day law directly coincided with the Great Recession.

In addition to paid sick days, states and cities are also beginning to pass laws that require employers to provide paid family leave to their employees so that employees can care for a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or tend to their own disability or serious illness. CAP’s analysis finds that in all three states where paid family and medical leave has been implemented statewide—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—the state unemployment rate did not rise one year after the implementation of the policy.

These findings directly dispel the idea that such policies lead to higher unemployment.

Paid sick days and paid family and medical leave have gained new momentum in the past several years as policymakers, businesses, and the public increasingly recognize the necessity of these policies for working families. Yet even as states and cities across the country pass laws guaranteeing paid sick and paid family and medical leave, too many families still do not have access to these critical protections.

In order to ensure access to paid time off for all working families, America needs a comprehensive approach to establish a national paid family and medical leave program and paid sick days requirement.

Read the report: Paid Sick Days and Paid Family and Medical Leave Are Not Job Killers by Danielle Corley, Sunny Frothingham, and Kate Bahn

Related resources:

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at ckiene@americanprogress.org or 202.478.5328.