Research keeps debunking the myth that generous employee benefits are bad for business.
A new study by The Center for American Progress found that cities and states with mandatory paid leave laws haven't seen a significant increase in unemployment. Of the 19 localities that adopted paid sick leave policies between 2007 and 2015, unemployment did not significantly increase. Nor did it rise in any of the three states that passed paid family and medical leave laws. Considering that some form of a federal mandate on paid leave is inevitable, that's actually good news.
Opponents of mandatory paid leave say such policies are too burdensome on businesses, and would result in companies having to cut jobs to mitigate costs. But the study results indicate that companies in these localities didn't significantly reduce jobs after implementing paid leave. Additionally, a 2016 study about paid sick leave mandates by researchers at Cornell University and KOF Swiss Economic Institute found neither wages nor employment decreased in areas where companies were required to offer paid sick leave.
Additionally, according to researchers, workers entitled to paid sick, family, and medical leave are healthier, productive, and more engaged in their careers. Nearly 70 percent of Americans who voted for President-elect Donald Trump and 89 percent of Hillary Clinton voters support mandatory paid family and medical leave, according to a post-election poll of 2,000 voters by the Center for American Progress.
It's no surprise that the majority of Americans support these policies. Paid leave would save workers a lot of money: Without paid leave, workers miss out on $20.6 billion in wages each year. Plus, they spend an additional $1.1 billion of their own money on emergency room visits and public health insurance programs that could be mitigated with paid leave policies. The kicker? That money could be reinvested back into the economy through consumer spending to help the very businesses providing these benefits.