An analysis was conducted to assess the potential impact of a mandatory paid sick leave policy in the Ontario construction industry. The study considered various behavioral responses by employers and workers to the policy.
The results indicated that a paid sick leave program with 5 days per year for workers is a favorable policy when used as intended. However, the analysis highlighted the lack of controls to ensure compliance, leading to potential exploitation of the program by workers. As compliance decreases, the costs to the industry can be substantial, amounting to $1.65 billion in the worst-case scenario and approximately $1 billion in the expected case.
While paid sick leave is desirable, its successful implementation in the construction industry would require a sophisticated system for tracking and tracing employee health, which does not currently exist. Therefore, the report recommends that the government should first establish such a system before considering a universal paid sick leave program in Ontario. Failure to do so could result in a $1 billion cost to construction industry employers and a 10% reduction in the value of their businesses.