Measure calls for mandatory sick time pay

Measure calls for mandatory sick time pay

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)

State law does not require businesses to offer their employees paid sick leave. But at Eggs 'n Things and many other companies, full-time workers do get sick time pay as a benefit.

"After one year of full-time employment, they get 40 hours of paid time off they can use however they want, for sick leave, vacation," operations manager Michael Skedeleski said.

Senate Bill 129 wants to make paid time off for sick time mandatory for all service workers in private sector businesses that employ more than 50 people.

"We're trying to expand the number of people who would have access to some amount of paid sick time, either for themselves or to care for children who are ill," Hawaii Government Employees Association executive Director Randy Perreira said.

He estimates a sick leave law could help 170,000 workers who presently have no paid sick time to fall back on when they take ill or have to stay out of work to care for a sick child or spouse.

"If your co-worker has the flu, I'm sure you'd rather not see that individual sitting there next to you because he or she is compelled to come to work," Perreira said.

But the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business calls the proposed law inflexible.

"Say an employee knew they didn't want to take sick leave, or didn't want to have that kind of leave and would rather take it in pay, there aren't any other options," Melissa Pavlicek said.

"It's not fair in our view that people who are legitimately ill have to stay home from work and not get paid, there's not some form of paid sick time," Perreira said.

Skedelski said businesses in the food service industry would be affected the most, and customers could ultimately end up paying for the increase in operating costs.

"The minimum wage obviously is going to affect everybody's bottom line," he said. "This also could ultimately affect everybody's pricing."

The House Labor committee was scheduled to hear the bill Tuesday but removed the measure from its agenda.

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