State lawmakers will soon take up a bill that could require businesses to offer paid sick leave to all employees.
Supporters of the proposal, such as Nikki Murphy, executive director of the N.H. Women’s Lobby and Alliance in Concord, say it will improve public health by keeping sick employees off the job.
But opponents, like David A. Juvet, senior vice president of the Concord-based N.H. Business and Industry Association, say it will place burdensome costs on small- and mid-sized businesses already struggling through the recession.
“Where does this end?” Juvet said. “You could argue that businesses should be required to provide vacation time for mental health or say they have to provide a retirement savings account.
“Many businesses look at those and try to provide those if they can and if it makes good business sense. But there’s a big difference between the business choosing that and the state mandating that.”
The bill, introduced by Rep. Mary Stuart Gile, D-Concord, would require businesses with 10 or more employees to provide up to five days of paid sick time to all part- and full-time employees who have worked there for six months.
The sick time, which can also be used to stay home with sick family members or for preventive care, would be earned at a rate of 1 hour of sick time per 30 hours worked, according to Gile.
As state health officials prepare for a possible H1N1, or swine flu, pandemic, they’re urging workers to stay home if they feel sick to avoid spreading illness to co-workers or other members of the public. Continue reading