Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. is the largest electricity supplier in the state. The company employs thousands of workers and serves the local community by providing employment opportunities and the sustainable energy needed to foster the islands’ growth and welfare. We strongly support H.B. No. 1727, Relating to Labor, which aims to provide employees who work forty hours each week with forty hours of paid sick leave in a calendar year to allow them to take care of their physical and mental health and the health of their family members in a proper manner.
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Profitability and quality of service are two vital interests for every business. Therefore, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. is concerned with employee productivity as it is an essential factor leading to organizational prosperity and sustainability. When workers are unable to address health problems without the risk of job separation and the loss of a stable source of income, such a situation is detrimental not only to individuals but also to the company as a whole.
Notably, emphasizing workplace presenteeism is especially harmful in the case of ill employees coming to the workplace while contagious. According to recent statistics, more than one employee in four worked while infected with swine or avian influenza during the 2009 pandemic, leading to a rapid spread of infection to millions of co-workers (Milli, Xia, and Min 2016). This example makes it clear that a lack of access to paid sick leave poses a significant public health concern.
In addition, ill employees clearly display reduced effectiveness in their performance and productivity. As the main contributor to the state’s economy, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. advocates for the prevention of health-related productivity losses in part because these undermine organizational and community development efforts. We believe that providing paid sick leave across both the public and private business sectors will be a major step in the elimination of the abovementioned risks.
In the discussion of employee health and disease prevention, it is important to take into account the implications of H.B. No. 1727 on an individual level as well. First, free access to health care is an essential ingredient in promoting a high quality of life. Also, a sufficient number of opportunities to address the needs of family members is crucial to ensure sound work-life balance. At the same time, research evidence reveals that inappropriate work-life balance results in burnout and decreased career and life satisfaction (Starmer, Frintner, and Freed 2016).
Among the most obvious negative consequences of poor work-life balance are the accompanying negative impact on family relationships and an increase in employees’ intentions to quit their jobs. Therefore, any organization committed to the well-being of its stakeholders cannot ignore the value of paid sick leave as an instrument for the promotion of employee security and welfare. Considering that people are every company’s primary assets, it is pivotal for employers to create workplace systems that benefit workers in multiple ways. While some employers may be reluctant to introduce such systems voluntarily, enacting H.B. No. 1727 will help foster legal protection for community members.
Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. firmly believes that H.B. No. 1727, Relating to Labor, will contribute to the well-being of the local community and businesses as well as the state as a whole. Therefore, we urge the committee to pass the bill. Thank you for your attention and the chance to testify.
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Milli, Jessica, Jenny Xia, and Jesun Min. 2016. Paid Sick Days Benefit Employers, Workers, and the Economy. Web.
Starmer, Amy J., Mary Pat Frintner, and Gary L. Freed. 2016. “Work–Life Balance, Burnout, and Satisfaction of Early Career Pediatricians.” Pediatrics, 137 (4): 1-10.