Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hogan's Accidental War on Full-Time Workers

ANNAPOLIS, MD - Yesterday Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced he intends to introduce legislation which will require companies with 50 or more workers who work 30 hours or more per week to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.

At face value, this seems like an excellent attempt at helping full time workers stay home when they're sick, so they can take care of themselves and not spread illness to others.

Unfortunately, as the famous saying goes, "results may vary".

For some companies, offering a week of paid sick leave to 50 employees may be too much to impact their bottom line. You see, when an employee calls off sick, if the job is something such as warehouse or manufacturing, the employer has to make a choice - either allow production to be negatively impacted (which costs money), or call in another employee to take over that shift (which also costs money). Now, the business must also cover the employee's pay as if they were still at work.

I know what you're thinking - but don't many businesses offer paid sick leave? Yes, many do. In fact, my own employer, which has less than 10 employees, offers a week of paid sick leave. However, that is part of why I chose my current employer, because of the employee benefits.

Benefits, not just wages, are a driving force behind employment decisions. A prospective employee is more likely to work for a business with lower pay and good benefits, than work for an employer with higher pay and no benefits.

So what is a business to do, if it has over 50 employees but can't afford to pay them a full week of sick leave? The business has two options - either cut back on the number of full time employees (thanks Obama!), or leave Maryland completely just like Beretta is doing because of Maryland's gun laws. Neither of these options is good for the employees or the state.

In all fairness, Governor Hogan is on the right track with his $20,000 tax incentive for paid sick leave for businesses under 50 employees. In my opinion, giving a business a tax break, instead of fining or penalizing them, is always preferable. Imagine how many additional full time jobs Maryland could possibly create if we created a sliding scale, not just offering tax breaks for businesses under 50 employees offering paid sick leave, but increasingly larger tax breaks for larger businesses.

Very rarely do I utilize this site to vocalize my own beliefs, and I absolutely believe businesses should offer their workers paid sick leave. But I cannot support forcing them to do so.

Please contact Governor Hogan today, and tell him this is a bad deal for Maryland workers. We want Maryland to be open for business, not driving away business.

Ken is the editor of the Liberty Chronicle. This editorial does not reflect or represent the view of his employers or clients.