The facts about Obama’s sick leave proposal

In his State of the Union earlier this month, President Obama offered up a number of proposals that would changes things in the workplace, including one to expand sick leave.

We think it’s important to share a few facts about this topic before Congress gets too far.

For starters, did you know that paid leave was the most prevalent employee benefit provided by employers in private industry in the U.S. in 2012?

Yep, that’s right: 84 percent of private industry workers received vacation, holiday, or personal leave.

Moreover, 72 percent of workers received both paid holidays and paid vacations, and 61 percent were covered by sick leave plans.

The eligibility for paid leave has undergone plenty of change over the past 20 years. While fewer workers today enjoy paid vacations, employers are increasingly providing access to sick leave, personal leave and family leave.

The president, in case you missed the State of the Union, is proposing up to seven earned paid sick days for all Americans, citing Connecticut’s 2011 law as precedence.

Obama’s proposal will obviously face an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Congress.

San Francisco has a mandatory paid-leave policy and, predictably, it has resulted in some problems.

Most critically, to comply with the law, some employers have had to cut other compensation, such as vacation days.

Stanford University economist Nick Bloom told the National Journal recently that, under a federal policy, this phenomenon could be more detrimental in parts of the country that aren’t as strong economically.

That said, employers might want to stop and review the benefits they offer their employees. Benefits do help with recruitment and retention.


Apprentice Personnel has been providing employers with the help they need (whenever anyone calls in sick or for any other reason) since 1991.

About the Author

Larry Hannappel

Larry spent 16 years with Century Casino’s and was instrumental in the start-up and growth of the company through expansions in Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Poland and on several cruise ships as well as in Colorado. He was most recently the SVP, Principal Finance Officer and COO of North American operations for Century Casinos Inc., a multinational, Nasdaq-traded gaming company. Earlier in his career, Larry worked at the Johns Manville Corp. Larry spent 13 years in various accounting and finance functions in the company’s fiberglass manufacturing division and was key in the start-up of a molding plant in Indiana. Larry and his wife Kathy and three children live in Colorado. He enjoys four-wheeling, motorcycling, golfing, skiing and brewing beer.

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