- the entire report as published
- discussion of the proposed benefits
- discussion of the estimated costs
- impact on employers and employees
- interview on Fox 35
Enough background! Here are the key findings. Requiring paid sick leave in Orange County is estimated to cost businesses between $69.2 million and $82.3 million per year. Why a range? Details are provided in another post (see the link to the discussion of estimated costs), but basically I originally followed the approach used by IWPR and others that have studied the issue by assuming that workers in different industries used the same number of paid sick leave days per year. Rather than pick a low number which would minimize the cost or a high number that would amplify the cost, I found an objective source (the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and used their estimate of four days (from a report published in February 2012; I even spoke with the author of the report). At the last minute, someone pointed out to me that more detailed estimates by industry were available. Though other studies didn't use that approach, I wanted to be as objective as possible and did a second estimate using BLS estimates of the usage of paid sick leave by industry (the biggest effect came from an estimated usage of two days by workers in leisure and hospitality). This resulted in a slightly lower estimated cost, so why include it? To be objective as possible. The original estimate is easy to defend, but that's not good enough for me.
What about the benefits of paid sick leave? I think the burden of proof is on those advocating a change in policy. Thus, I considered the evidence they used in coming up with their estimated benefits. Unfortunately, the support was quite weak and brought into question much of the benefits. Does that mean that no one will benefit? Some are likely to benefit, but it will be considerably less than estimated by the supporters of mandatory paid sick leave. As discussed in the post discussing costs, this study underestimates the costs of mandatory paid sick leave, so the extra costs not captured by this study are likely to offset most of the benefits.