Small Business Squabbles Over Paid Sick Time Laws

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ In a story March 27 about paid sick leave laws, The Associated Press, relying on information from Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., reported erroneously the number of employees a company has to have to be exempt from paying for sick leave under the Healthy Families Act. The Healthy Families Act exempts companies with fewer than 15 employees from providing paid sick time.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Small business squabbles over paid sick time laws

Paid sick time becomes a bigger issue for small businesses as lawmakers take action on leave

By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG

AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Two months after a severe flu season forced millions of workers to stay home, paid sick time is becoming an issue for many small business owners.

City councils in Portland, Ore., and Philadelphia earlier this month approved laws requiring employers to give their workers paid sick leave. And two Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress that would make paid sick leave a federal requirement.

There's a great divide among business owners over the issue. On one side are opponents who say paid sick time creates financial and administrative burdens for businesses that are struggling with a still recovering economy and uncertainty about health care costs and federal budget cuts. Others argue that it makes for a happier workplace and encourages employees to stay home instead of coming to work and infecting everyone around them.

"It increases morale, it increases loyalty, it provides a much safer work environment," says Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets, a chain of four restaurants in the Washington D.C., area. He was already giving his workers paid sick time before the Washington City Council passed a sick leave law in 2008. It's particularly important in the restaurant business that sick employees don't come to work.

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