Dan Wolf, a Democratic state senator from Harwich and the founder of the regional airline Cape Air, considers sick time a pro-business measure. Cape Air, which started with a handful of employees and now has more than 1,200, has always offered the benefit. He says it builds trust and loyalty, and his workers don’t take all the sick time they’re offered.
Wolf filed the latest iteration of earned sick time legislation this past session. His plan, which died in the Senate, would have offered up to 56 hours of sick time for workers of larger firms. He called 40 hours a “modest” benefit, when compared with many other Western nations.
The measure’s proponents say research and other localities’ experiences are on their side.
In 2012, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research analyzed a previous Massachusetts earned sick time proposal, and calculated that its costs would be less than its benefits, yielding annual net savings of $26 million for employers. And backing Wolf’s claim, the same study found that workers with accrued sick time didn’t use all the days allowed to them.