WASHINGTON, DC— As the Connecticut General Assembly considers paid sick days legislation, a new study from San Francisco sheds light on how businesses and employees view the nation’s first paid sick days ordinance, four years since its implementation. Recent surveys conducted for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) find that both businesses and employees in San Francisco were generally in support of the nation’s first paid sick days legislation, the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (PSLO) enacted in 2007.

More than half of covered employees report some benefit due to the law, and one out of four workers reported that they were better able to care for their own and their families’ health. Two-thirds of employers are supportive of the paid sick days policy.

“San Francisco’s policy helped parents, workers with chronic diseases, low-wage workers, and others, with minimal impact on employers,” said Vicky Lovell, former IWPR Acting Director of Research and co-author on the report. “The Paid Sick Leave Ordinance serves as a model for the rest of the country,”

Campaigns to pass similar laws are active in cities and states across the country. Recent attention has focused on Connecticut, where recently-elected Governor Dan Malloy campaigned on his support for passage of a paid sick days law.

In the study released today, IWPR reports that 17 percent of San Francisco’s workforce (59,000 employees) are newly covered. Under the PSLO, any part- or full-time employee who works in San Francisco—even for a company that is based elsewhere—earns one hour of paid sick time for every thirty hours worked.

Surveys of over 700 employers and nearly 1,200 employees conducted in January and February 2010 found that two-thirds of employers support the law. Only one in seven employers reported adverse effects on profitability. The report released today, San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Outcomes for Employers and Employees (embargoed until February 10 at 2 p.m. ET) by Robert Drago, Ph.D., and Vicky Lovell, Ph.D., outlines the findings of the survey.

Costs or penalties to employees as a result of the PSLO are rare, with only a small proportion of employees reporting fewer raises or bonuses, or reductions in other benefits. Employees tend to save paid sick days for a rainy day: most use far fewer than the maximum allotment.

The implementation of the legislation has also had public health benefits: One out of eight workers with public contact in workplaces—such as restaurants and retail establishments—reported that the paid sick days made it less likely for them to come to work when sick.

To reach the authors of the report or an employer who is willing to comment on the impact of the legislation on his business, please contact Caroline Dobuzinskis at dobuzinskis@iwpr.org or by phone at 202.785.5100.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)

conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women’s studies and public policy programs at George Washington University.