Brown: Sick leave option can increase productivity

Published 12:54 am Sunday, February 3, 2013

The importance of companies offering sick leave to their employees and its effect on morale and productivity were the focuses of a joint conference call held by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Ohio business owner Heather Rocco-Geissler, CEO of Challenger Aviation Products Inc.

The call between Brown and Ohio media was Wednesday.

“(Offering sick leave) is not a public cost. This is individual businesses,” Brown said. “When more workers show up to work without sick leave, they’re not as productive. They are more likely to cause others to be sick, who will be less productive.”

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Recent legislation has made it difficult for Challenger to maintain its health care standards, said Rocco-Geissler, but she and Brown agree that should change after 2014 when certain aspects of health care legislation become effective.

But, politics aside, Rocco-Geissler said she believes one of the reasons many companies in the private sector do not offer sick leave is because they are scared.

“They are afraid it’s going to decrease productivity and decrease their bottom line,” Rocco-Geissler said. “I think they feel, if there are more workers there, then more is going to get done. However, if you allow that person to go home and protect them from their illness, they end up being more productive in the end because they are healthy.”

Recognizing this, Brown said most public and government workers have some form of paid sick leave. Brown said, when implemented, sick leave works in the private sector as well and is good for employers, employees and the State of Ohio.