03/14/2013 12:29 pm ET

Paid Sick Days Now Required In 4 Large U.S. Cities, Not Required In More Than 700 Others

There are at least 700 cities in the country where employers aren’t required to give their workers paid sick leave.

The city of Portland, Oreg., on Wednesday became the just the fourth in the country to require that businesses provide employees with paid sick days, according to the Associated Press. Portland -- which joins Seattle, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco in mandating paid sick leave -- was one of a small but growing number of cities pushing paid sick leave laws.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are about 719 cities with more than 50,000 people. And if you subtract the four cities that mandate paid sick leave, as well as the 12 cities on the list that are in Connecticut, the only state with such a law, you get 703.

That, dear readers, is the number of large cities in America where workers may have to choose between spreading their flu around the office and not getting paid.

Offering paid sick leave can actually be a boon to businesses, according to some. Workers without paid sick leave are 1.5 times more likely to go to work with a contagious illness, putting everyone around them at risk, according to the Center for American Progress. In addition, "presenteeism" -- or the lack of productivity that can result from working sick -- costs businesses in the U.S. about $160 billion per year, more than the cost of absenteeism.



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