A fierce battle being waged in New York City could be a foreshadowing of more to come across the nation. New York's City Council debated Friday whether employers should be required to offer employees paid sick leave.
"If a worker gets sick, they have to take time off," said Sarah Jane Glynn, a supporter of paid sick leave with Center for American Progress, on Jansing & Co. Friday. "[If] they have no job protection, they get fired. It costs a lot more to replace someone than it does to offer them a day or two off with paid leave."
Glynn recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Daily News advocating for mandatory paid sick leave for workers. She pointed out only one-third of workers in service jobs have paid sick days, and nearly 80% of those working in the leisure and hospitality industry lack this benefit.
The issue could also be taken up beyond New York City and addressed on the national level. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., introduced legislation Wednesday that would set a national minimum sick day standard.
Critics of paid sick leave including the Heritage Foundation that says requiring the benefit would force some employers to lower wages to compensate for it. There is also the argument that abuse of paid sick leave hurts productivity.
"That's simply not the case," Glynn told msnbc's Chris Jansing. "Most of the legislation that we're talking about only offers five to seven days per year. So it's not a considerable amount of time."