University of Kentucky Study Suggests Gov. Larry Hogan’s Paid Sick Leave Proposal Would Reduce Hours, Income for Young Employees

Study examines Connecticut’s first-in-the-nation paid sick leave policy, cautionary conclusions for Maryland
  • Publication Date: December 2016

Washington D.C. – Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) is highlighting a study by Dr. Thomas Ahn of the University of Kentucky examining the effects of Connecticut’s first-in-the-nation state paid sick leave policy passed in 2011. In the most robust and extensive analysis of the policy to date, Dr. Ahn analyzes the data available thus far and concludes that the policy reduced the number of hours worked by young employees.

Comparing Connecticut to the five surrounding New England states and controlling for other factors, Dr. Ahn finds that Connecticut employees aged 20-34 saw a 24-hour reduction in annual hours worked. Employees lost an average $850 in annual income.

To read the study, click here.

Dr. Ahn’s research builds on an earlier Connecticut paid sick leave study, published in Applied Economics Letters, which found a nearly one percentage point increase in the fraction of jobless employees in the state in the near term following the introduction of the mandate.

An earlier 2013 EPI survey of affected Connecticut businesses found that about one-third reduced employee benefits after the paid sick leave mandate took effect. And one-fifth of respondents offset their costs by reducing hours or staffing levels.

A comprehensive review of five paid sick leave studies concluded that there was little evidence to support proponents’ claim that workplace illness is reduced following the introduction of sick leave mandates. For instance, a study of San Francisco’s paid sick leave law finds that just 3.3 percent of employers reported that the mandate reduced workplace illness. Similar results were reported in Seattle.

“The findings of this study should give Maryland legislators considering Gov. Larry Hogan’s sick leave proposal pause,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute. “Due to their role in reducing job opportunities, and their apparently minimal workplace benefits, embracing mandatory paid sick leave would be a step backward for Maryland.”

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The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. In particular, EPI focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment. EPI receives support from restaurants, foundations, and individuals.