In my experience, taking into account machining, which is the rule for a developed company (I know that a lot of firms rather prefer to allocate its factories in low labor cost countries, what is economically less productive), labor costs aren't so high. Thinking economically, the most productive procedure of an economy is having high fixed costs (machinery, factories), and low variable costs. This means that product per person is high, what allows us to enjoy a higher living standard per hour worked. Taking into account all of this, I think that people should have the opportunity for enjoy sick leave days (what isn't their fault), without paying any premium. And maybe, if the sick leave takes too long, the state should pay a part of it. I know that the welfare state isn't very popular in these times, but I think that there is enough room for applying it in these cases. At the end, I want to say that maternity leave is completely necessary in a developed economy, because if we don't apply it, our population will age and decrease, what is economically a shot on your feet.