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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oregon’s Earned Sick Days Law Would Improve Public Health, Reduce Costs

Providing earned sick days is expected to save employers in Oregon nearly $11 million per year, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The state’s proposed earned sick days legislation would also reduce public health costs by decreasing the spread of contagious illness.
May 30, 2013

Washington, DCProviding earned sick days is expected to save employers in Oregon nearly $11 million per year, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The state’s proposed earned sick days legislation would also reduce public health costs by decreasing the spread of contagious illness.

Nearly 600,000 Oregon workers lack access to a single paid sick day, and approximately 287,400 lack paid leave benefits of any kind (including vacation) and would be eligible to earn sick leave under House Bill 3390. The proposed law would allow employees to accrue at least seven days of sick leave per year to use for their own illness or to stay home with a sick child or other family member. Sick days could also be used to seek services for domestic violence.

Analysis of government statistics shows that full time employees with sick leave benefits use only 2.5 days per year, on average, and half of all covered workers do not take any days off for illness or injury in a given year.

Savings to Oregon's employers come through reduced contagion at work, improved productivity, and reduced turnover. Current productivity losses, due to employees working while sick, are estimated at $8.3 million annually. Estimated cost savings to society through earned sick days come by preventing or shortening nursing-home stays when workers can care for family members, reducing norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes, and preventing unnecessary hospital emergency department visits.

“Earned sick days laws strengthen the economy by making jobs more stable and secure, and benefit workplaces, families, and communities by minimizing the spread of contagious illness,” said Barbara Gault, Vice President and Executive Director of IWPR.

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 and public administration programs at The George Washington University.

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