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Paid Sick Days Proposal is Anti-Jobs, Anti-Choice

Posted on July 14, 2011

AIM will speak at a Beacon Hill hearing today on behalf of thousands of Massachusetts employers who fear that a proposal to mandate paid sick leave will crush their ability to create jobs.

Paid Sick DaysThe association will tell members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development that employers do not oppose paid sick leave as an employee benefit.  They instead oppose the mandatory nature of the legislation and believe that decisions regarding any employee benefit provided to employees are best left to the discretion of the individual employer.

Employers themselves provide the clearest evidence of the potential harm that yet another mandated benefit would cause for businesses both large and small. Here are excerpts from some of the 800 messages AIM members have sent to the Legislature:

“I hope to grow jobs for individuals and families. However, mandatory paid sick leave erases any serious hope for future job growth and threatens our ability to remain competitive in Massachusetts. Throughout this recession my company has struggled to retain jobs and benefits. This bill would make it more expensive to do business and would limit our ability to create benefit policies that accommodate our workforce and their families. In fact, this type of policy effectively takes choice away from our employees and their families.”

“As an employer of more than 60 office and factory workers we have always tried to provide our employees the best, affordable health care insurance as well as provisions for illnesses. We feel that the circumstances and capability of each company differ and that some provisions to benefit employees are better determined by the individual employers. As such, a provision to require up to seven sick days, no matter how written, is likely to put the burden of an additional seven days of employee absence on every employer.”

“Our company has been located in Massachusetts for the past 35 years. We have been successful even though our cost structures as a result of our location have been higher than most of our competitors located in other areas of the country. During this recession, we have been able to maintain our workforce, and have not resorted to job cuts, reduction in employee benefits, or other measures that would negatively impact our employees. We have always offered paid sick leave of five days. However, that has been our choice, not a mandate from the state. We object to having the state legislature determine what benefits we must offer, and at what cost. As we see more proposed costs in the form of state mandates, along with some of the highest energy costs in the nation, and as we see the potential for continued growth in our business being stymied by these costs, we will have to consider whether we will be able to be more competitive in a different geographical location.”

“My husband and I own a manufacturing plant. Over the last year we have gone from 15 employees down to 5 but we have managed to survive. We currently offer our employees health insurance for individuals and families of which we pay 70 percent. We pay 100 percent for life insurance and STD for all our employees. We give them up to two weeks paid vacation every year, 10 paid holidays and paid bereavement time if required. At our current rate of pay the addition of paid sick time will add another $2,100 per employee to our annual expenses. Passing this bill will cause businesses to look elsewhere for a more business friendly location.  Who benefits by forcing more business to close or leave the state?”

“Employers have enough challenges just trying to survive and provide good benefits for employees without having additional challenges like this in the mixture.”

“If the Commonwealth continues with the never-ending increases in the costs of doing business here, it will become the only employer within its borders. I wonder how many people are interested in buying products generated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

“Mandatory paid sick leave legislation is simply anti-choice and anti-jobs. When corporations grow their businesses and require additional employees to conduct those businesses, corporations have a choice as to where to employ any additional employees. The type of legislation that is being proposed will drive a corporation to locate its new employment opportunities outside Massachusetts.”

“Our company employs more than two hundred full-time people.  We pride ourselves on the strong, positive, relationships we enjoy with our employees.  Most of our employees have worked at our company for many years, often for most of their working lives.  Company owners and managers are very much aware of how important a part the overall wellbeing of company employees plays in this equation and they do as much as they possibly can, given the economic constraints of the marketplace, to offer a comprehensive employee compensation package that will provide a solid standard of wellbeing for all employees.”