The Apocalypse Is Now: Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

On September 1, 2012, the city of Seattle's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance went into effect. Over a year later, business is booming in Seattle.

(Photo Credit: dherrera_96/Flickr)

Not everyone expected mandatory sick leave to be a good thing. Opponents of the ordinance argued that requiring employers to compensate employees with sick time would squeeze them dry, effectively hurting their ability to do do business in Seattle. Gloom, doom, disappearing jobs and fewer benefits for those who were lucky enough to be employed were predicted.

Fortunately for the working people of Seattle, just the opposite happened.

Retail Jobs in King County

Data for all of Seattle will not be available until next year, but specific data for King County is the covered in the Market Street Alliance's report. There were 7,200 more retail jobs in King County during the first seven months of 2013 than during the same period in 2012. That means people in Seattle, many of whom have jobs, were buying things, and that employers, who were now required to compensate employees better than before (i.e., allowing them to accrue paid sick leave) were selling more products and needed to hire more people and pay them wages and sick leave benefits. Business got better, not worse.

Food and Beverage Industry

The restaurant industry is also booming, and the Seattle Stranger's Slog interviewed numerous restaurant owners who believe the new ordinance is a good thing. Contrary to predictions of astronomical increases in the prices of restaurant food, restaurants are doing well and not raising prices to make up for paying sick leave benefits.

When people are compensated well, they have more security and money to spend. When people have money to spend on goods and services, retail businesses and the food and beverage industry do well. That is exactly what is happening in Seattle.

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