Employment Policy Group Urges Connecticut Legislators to Consider Unintended Consequences of Mandated Leave

Employment Policies Institute Says Mandated Benefits Like Paid Leave Will Hurt Connecticut Employees
  • Publication Date: March 2011

  • Topics: Health Care

WASHINGTON – Today, Michael Saltsman, research fellow for the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), gave testimony and urged legislators in Connecticut to consider the unintended consequences of mandating paid leave.

Legislation (S.B. 913) considered today in the Joint Committee on Labor and Public Employees, would require Connecticut businesses with 50 or more employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Despite the claims of advocates, mandates like this could have unintended consequences for Connecticut citizens including reduced hours, cuts in benefits, and fewer job opportunities.

“Many impacted employers have low profit margins, so for each dollar in revenue, only a few cents are made in profit–meaning there’s not a lot of leeway for added labor costs,” said Saltsman. “This is especially true among employees already earning the minimum, and could cause job loss among this vulnerable group.”

The bill’s proponents tout dramatic benefits to employees and the public from this “free lunch,” but their own research disproves the claim.

“According to a survey conducted in San Francisco by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, close to 30 percent of employees in the bottom fifth of earners reported layoffs or reduced hours at their place of work after passage of the paid sick leave mandate,” Saltsman continued: “Their research also reveals this shocking statistic: More than eight out of 10 employers in San Francisco said the paid sick leave ordinance had no effect on the number of employees who came to work sick.

Saltsman concluded, “According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 86 percent of Connecticut workers already have access to a paid leave benefit, and the remaining employees don’t have it because their employer can’t afford it. There will surely be unintended consequences if the state mandates a leave policy for that remainder.”

The Connecticut Legislature will post Saltsman’s full testimony online here: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CommDocTmyBillAllComm.asp?bill=SB-00913&doc_year=2011