Wall Street Journal Online (02/29/12) Sarah E. Needleman
Some cities and states are imposing paid sick leave mandates, with Connecticut doing so in January but exempting employers with fewer than 50 workers and Seattle slated to do so in September for employers of all sizes. The Society for Human Resource Management says the number of businesses with fewer than 50 workers that offered paid sick time fell to 32% in 2011 from 39% in 2009. Small firms insist they cannot afford to offer paid sick time. A 2010 survey of 473 employers by Mercer found that direct costs tied to incidental absences amounted to just 2% of payroll, but indirect costs, such as locating replacement workers, paying overtime, and disruptions that affect customer service, accounted for 3.8% of payroll.