CANTON, OH (August 28, 2008) – The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce is opposing a potential November ballot initiative, which would mandate that Ohio companies provide their employees with seven paid sick days each year. The Chamber has organized a special task force to educate both its members and the public on this important issue. The Chamber position was taken upon the recommendation, after detailed analysis, by its Governmental Affairs Committee.
According to Task Force co-chairs Theresa Mullen, state and local tax leader for Bruner-Cox LLP, and Pat Grischow, manager-governmental affairs, HR and government communications, The Timken Company, the initiative would be highly detrimental to Ohio businesses and the state’s job market.
The initiative would mandate companies with 25 or more employees grant seven paid sick days annually regardless of any preexisting employment policies. This sick leave could be taken with virtually no notice and in small increments. There are extensive record keeping burdens on businesses and no way to safeguard against abuse. The language in the proposal is vague and will certainly be subject to considerable litigation as companies struggle to adhere to the law.
Here are some problems that most concern the Chamber with the initiative:
- • This would significantly raise the cost of doing business in Ohio and cause companies to either hire fewer employees and or in some cases resort in layoffs. Costs would rise due to the extensive administrative and related burdens imposed by the initiative.
- • The fact that leave could be taken in small increments and with little notice could cause companies to encounter serious scheduling problems. Companies will also have few options in dealing with those employees who attempt to abuse the system.
- • It would provide a major disincentive to businesses considering expanding or locating to Ohio. It is important to note that none of the other 49 states have enacted government mandated paid sick leave. Only San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have similar requirements.
The vague wording of the initiative leaves much open to individual interpretation, which could take up considerable time and resources, creating confusion and, most likely, extensive litigation. This is expensive and another reason that could force companies to reduce the number of employees.
This is an unwanted government intrusion in the workplace in a matter best left between the employer and employee.
“The bottom line,” said Tim Maloney, Canton Chamber board chairman, “is that the act would seriously impair existing businesses and limit badly-needed job growth in Ohio. While on the surface, this act purports to help families, careful examination shows it hurts everyone by seriously undermining an already struggling economy. The Chamber will urge a ‘no’ vote if the initiative reaches the November ballot.”