President Barack Obama’s push to mandate paid sick leave generates two types of pushback. The first is a philosophical question about how much government interference is appropriate in the workplace, which can’t be answered with data.
The second type of resistance is different, because it revolves around the effects of such a law — for businesses, workers and consumers. Here, the data matter a lot. And unlike a few years ago, when those practical effects could mostly just be guessed at, a lot more information has recently become available, as an increasing number of cities and states adopt laws mandating paid sick leave.
In three of those jurisdictions — Connecticut , San Francisco and Seattle — researchers have examined the impact of those laws by surveying businesses and, in some cases, workers about what happened once they took effect. The findings suggest that while the economic consequences of those laws shouldn’t be ignored, they aren’t terribly strong either. Here are the most common objections, and how they hold up against the data.