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Sick leave law would kill Ohio



Published: Sun, August 10, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

Sick leave law would kill Ohio

The state of Ohio may be facing one of its biggest gambles ever, and it has nothing to do with the Lotto, Keno or casinos. It’s all about mandatory sick leave.

A coalition of unions, social service agencies and Democratic politicians calling itself Ohioans for Healthy Families appears to have collected enough signatures to put an issue on the November ballot that would require every company in the state with more than 25 employees to provide at least seven paid sick days for their employees.

If passed in November, the issue would make Ohio the only state in the Union with required sick leave. It’s difficult to imagine how loud the sucking sound will be as jobs leave the state.

This is a one-sided initiative that would not only mandate the accrual of sick leave time, it would require companies to provide the time in increments of as little as an hour anytime an employee said he or she was sick — or a dependent child, spouse or parent was sick. The employer could ask for a doctor’s excuse only if the employee took three consecutive days off. And while the law makes no mention of penalties for an employee who abuses sick leave, it has penalties for uncooperative employers and provisions that encourage legal action against companies.

Searching for compromise

Two Democrats who recognize how bad this law would be for the state are Gov. Ted Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher. They are working on a compromise between the initiative’s backers, the business community and Republican legislative leaders.

But if a compromise is reached, it would be for the Legislature to enact a mandatory sick leave law. And while its provisions would not be as onerous as the November initiative, it would still make Ohio the only state with mandatory sick leave.

Thus, the gamble: enact a bad law that would put the state at a certain a disadvantage in the job market or risk passage of an awful law that would cripple the state’s ability to compete for jobs.

Initial polls show that most voters would vote for the initiative. But that’s based on their first impression of the proposal. We think if voters are given all the facts — acknowledging that it isn’t going to be easy to get the word out — Ohioans will see this as a bad law that would hurt the state.

Being first can be good or bad. Being the first state to tell companies that they must by law provide paid sick leave with virtually no questions asked would be terrible.


Comments

1OhioMom72(3 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Much like in the opinion piece above, groups that oppose the Ohio Healthy Families Act have not produced a single hard fact, information source, or study to back up their claims.
Claims that the Act is a "jobs killer," and accusations that workers will abuse such a policy are not supported by the facts. Additionally, these opposition groups are choosing to ignore the experience of thousands of Ohio businesses that do offer paid sick days and continue to thrive.

FACT: 53.7 percent of all workers with paid sick days do not miss a single day of work. (SOURCE: IWPR’s analysis of the 2004 National Health Interview Survey)

FACT: Ohio employers save $1.25 per employee every week when offering paid sick days. (SOURCE: Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

FACT: Nationally, 78 percent of all workers dealing with accommodation and food service do not have access to paid sick days. (SOURCE: Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

FACT: A survey of New York City restaurant workers found that 52 percent went to work when sick. (SOURCE: Center for Law and Social Policy)

FACT: 79 percent of all Ohio employees earning less than $9.23 an hour do not have the ability to take care of their ill family members. (SOURCE: Policy Matters Ohio)

Ohio House speaker John Husted, who has been vocally opposed to the Ohio Healthy Families Act, has paid sick days himself. So do the rest of our elected officials here in Ohio, and the CEOs who oppose the Act. Yet they have not come up with a single fact-based reason why they deserve paid sick days but the people of Ohio do not.

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2OhioMom72(3 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

OldManGrump, that is a catchy expression but its implications are absolutely ludicrous: hide your head in the sand.

What you should be suspicious of is a campaign that does not cite any facts or sources whatsoever to back up its bold claims.

I welcome you to question the validity of the sources of the facts on this issue. Do your research. Read the cited studies for yourself. Find out if there is contradictory research (if there is, I'm really puzzled as to why the opposition is not trumpeting it).

If we all end up agreeing that the research is sound, it's also fair to propose that an alternative conclusion might be drawn from that research. Such debate would be a welcome change from the fearmongering that has driven the opposition's message thus far.

An alternative to making public policy based on facts is making public policy based on myths. Is that really what's best for Ohio?

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3OhioMom72(3 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Ah, yes, the NFIB. Call me crazy but I hesitate to put much stock in a "study" done by lobbyist organizations. On their website you can see what they are lobbying for and against, whose interests they have in mind, and what political candidates they have officially endorsed.

It's kind of like when the Sugar Growers Association does its own study proving that sugar has no relation to cavities. Sugar may or may not cause cavities, but I don't think anyone in their right mind is going to put much stock in what the Sugar Growers have to say on the matter, as they have an agenda to push. Much like the NFIB.

I'd have a little more confidence if I could look at the NFIB's methodology, but their original study seems to be MIA on the internet.

Also, I thought this conversation was about the impact the Ohio Healthy Families Act will have on Ohio. Different bill, different state.

But as long as we're talking California, a more trustworthy study relevant to that state is here:
http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/B259capsd.pdf

We may have some disagreements about what makes a valid source, but I absolutely applaud your effort to join the ranks of those who prefer to deal in the realm of facts rather than myths.

Logging out now... have a nice Sunday.

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4CBDactivist(123 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

OhioMom72
Do we need this law enacted because we have to many businesses knocking down our doors to come to Ohio?
I would argue that if thousands of Ohio businesses already offer paid sick days and continue to prosper, that we don’t need another law on the books. It is always best to let the market place determine what it can and can’t afford, and also where people want to work.
The fact that most 53.7% of workers don’t miss a single day of work, I think is also misleading. It is a privilege that the company has offered them and they know if taken advantage of can also be taken away. When it is a law they will think entitled to take off days, when it is legislated the numbers will be far worse. I know that paid sick days in collective bargaining agreements are almost all taken by over 83.9% of the workforce, they are encouraged to be taken by the unions because it is there right to do so, sick or not. It is common practice to say I am taking a sick day, not I am sick and need to take the day off. Let the market place decide, or Ohio Mom72 if you don’t have your own business, open one up and offer as many sick days to your employees as you would like and prosper away.

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5dmets(575 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

why have sick days, when most employees already get vacation and personal days? Just more ways for people to get paid for not doing their job! So to work sick, i always did. It was my job to be at work, so i was there. I think the generations are just getting worse and expect everything just easy and handed to them.

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6Woody(451 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

OhioMom,

If you question studies done by lobbiest groups, then why did you use lobbiest groups as your source?

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7Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

“Yet they have not come up with a single fact-based reason why they deserve paid sick days but the people of Ohio do not.”

Yes, I agree whole heartedly, all Youngstown based businesses, not just those with 25 or more employees, should be required to offer ALL employees at least 7 days a year sick pay AND they should be accrued from year to year when not used. The math works out that for about every 30 employees you have, you will need to hire an extra one just to pick up the sick time with no value to overall production. You’ll therefore have more people employed.

Youngstown IS one of the TEN FASTEST DYING CITIES IN AMERICA, I think Youngstown should therefore be an incubator to test the tremendous economic benefits of this plan.

Just think of the millions of unemployed flocking to Youngstown to take advantage of a sick leave policy more generous than most professional employees have. Just think of the businesses flocking to this workers and employers paradise where the unions will have one less benefit they have to concentrate on. 2 ¾% city income tax on top of the state and federal income tax and a mired of other direct and indirect taxes, not an issue at all.

YES, THE COMMERCIAL REBIRTH of Youngstown thanks to another labor driven mandate! This going hand in hand with the taxes, indexed minimum wage and openness to non-union (sarcasm) jobs will insure the reincarnation of the city!

After the success of this pilot project it will be rolled out to the entire state of Ohio. What is that you say, who will be left to pay the taxes? Well how about the government employees, I’m sure they won’t mind footing the bill since it is all going back to them (minus a minor administration fee) anyway. Yes, an Ouroboros style perpetual motion government only economy can exist, and Youngstown will lead the way! (DOWN)

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8Eric(196 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I am very much against a bill like this, as I am a proponent of letting the market determine job benefits. I also have several questions concerning details of this bill. In my healthcare organization we got rid of the archaic sick/vacation leave system, because many employees do use their sick days as vacation. We went to a simple PTO system where all employees get paid time off that accrues with each pay period. The employees can use this time as they wish, but they have to have the responsibility to not carelessly use their PTO time and have no paid time off if they do fall ill. This is thoroughly explained to the employees upon hiring, annually, and in the employee handbook.

So, would this law require we revamp our well-designed leave system? No thank you Ohio, leave employers alone to work out leave systems that work best for their company and employees. Employers do not have pots of gold that they can dip into at will; we have to struggle with limited resources just like most other people. If employees want different benefits they are free to look elsewhere.

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9Eric(196 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

OhioMom72,

There are so many issues about your first post that I have to respond. First, I want to comment on your "facts":

FACT: 53.7 percent of all workers with paid sick days do not miss a single day of work. (SOURCE: IWPR’s analysis of the 2004 National Health Interview Survey)

Good for them. But I bet the other 50% use paid sick days like vacation.

FACT: Ohio employers save $1.25 per employee every week when offering paid sick days. (SOURCE: Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

This one makes me laugh. Employers aren't stupid; if we see cost savings, we embrace it. If this fact is really accurate, let the employers add sick leave days because it makes good business sense. I would never trust the government to pass labor laws with the justification that it will save the employers money!

FACT: Nationally, 78 percent of all workers dealing with accommodation and food service do not have access to paid sick days. (SOURCE: Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

Is this referring to part-time fast food workers and restaurant servers? If so, this bill won't affect any of them, as most of these types of employers don't have at least 25 employees.

FACT: A survey of New York City restaurant workers found that 52 percent went to work when sick. (SOURCE: Center for Law and Social Policy)

And.... Does that mean a mild cough or TB? Profit margins at many restaurants are amazingly slim. Throw in laws like this, and they will be forced to raise prices or close.

FACT: 79 percent of all Ohio employees earning less than $9.23 an hour do not have the ability to take care of their ill family members. (SOURCE: Policy Matters Ohio)

When I was in school on occasion my mom would have to take unpaid leave off if I was severly sick; my parents budgeted for this. That was back before every family had to have cable, cellular phone, flat screen television, computer, internet, and air conditioning (of which we had none of the above). Put responsiblity back into the hands of the workers, instead of forcing employers to take on additional costs.

OhioMom, it is obvious you have not faced the realities of running a business. Many businesses do not have unlimited access to funds; those that do are probably ALREADY offering paid sick leave. This bill will hurt small employers the most, who are already grappling with cash flow issues.

Let the market decide employee benefits. I totally agree with CBDactivist. If you are so adament about paid sick leave go open up your own small business, and you will see what a bad bill this is.

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10ytown9999(55 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

All that will happen is that my hard earned vacation time will get reduced by my company to make up for this nonsense. Then there will be a policy that you cannot use sick time for vacation time and if you get caught abusing it you will be disciplined.

Or, if not that, I guarantee you pissed off business owners WILL find a way to take some kind of benefit off workers to make up for the time they have to pay out for "state mandated sick leave".

Unless we have become a socialist country when I wasn't looking, Government needs to stay out of how businesses run their benefits.

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11Anita(20 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm all for this bill. I say vote YES. It's time Ohio did something for the workers. You know, the people who actually perform the tasks that make their employers rich.

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12mrbumpy(11 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm sick of these socialists pigs who attempt to put things into law that are absolutely going to destroy businesses in Ohio.

I say let the market decide...the last thing Ohio needs is this law.

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13PEACE2U(115 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

So-o-o the ones that are fortunate enough to get those SICK days & ABUSE them can continue to do so!!
THINK NOT!!
~~but the ones that NEVER HAD those sick days~~ they are not DESERVING OF because they WILL ABUSE them!!
WRONG ~~ The ones that never had tham sure WOULD NOT ABUSE THEM ~~ THEY are use to losing pay WHEN in need of reporting off ~~ and would APPRECIATE to get paid sick days & really would NOT ABUSE them!
MAYBE TAKE AWAY all paid SICK days from EVERYONE ~~ then you would know what it is like to LOSE money when REALLY SICK!!
This would be the FAIR SOLUTION!!

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14TB(1167 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I find it interesting that the proponents of the free market system are on here discussing how this law would negatively impact jobs in Ohio.

I was unaware that our current business climate was so inviting to businesses.

Also, a sick worker is a good worker apparently.

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15TopDog12(2 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

First of all I think the state of Ohio has alot more problems to why companies don't want to do business in this state and they leave. Such as why they are taxed so high. There are companies that don't give there employees no sick time at all and they pay them crap money. Where is the rights for the working men and women of this country, we bearly have any. We can be fired at wilm and with no notice and companies want at least a 2 week notice when quiting.
So if somebody is sick and they are too sick to make it to work they shouldn't feel like they are gonna lose there job if they miss a day of work, which alot of working people feel this way. So I will vote for approval of this law for those reasons. The state of Ohio should figure out ways to attract businesses to do business here by not taxing them. Not by keeping rights that the working men and women should have, lets face it without those working people no businesses could survive anyway.

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16EZD41(8 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Find a way to deal with abusers, but this is more than needed, i see people working sick every day. I work in a health care facility and for the most part the job is the reason many get sick in the first place. Then when you take a day or two for sick time your still penalized and the day is held against you as an occassion. So even if you have sick time you still cant use it without being penalized and that,s ridiculous

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17Eric(196 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

If you don't like your organization's policies, you are free to find another job. Maybe in the growing sunny South, where there are no unions and few regulations? You need to be thankful you have a job. Ohio is not inviting to business, and things like this will make it even less so.

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18DaytonCo(1 comment)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

While most states are probably neither, there are definitely business friendly states and business unfriendly states. Ohio already has a reputation as a very business unfriendly state; this will just make it worse.

All we see on the news here in Dayton is the story of another manufacturing firm closing. How are we going to recruit companies into the state with the prospect that the population will pass laws like this? There are already enough burdens on business, we don't need more.

An example, Ohio has one of the most convoluted tax codes in the nation. Not only are there state taxes, there are taxes for cities you work in, cities you live in and the same for school districts. We employ only about 25 people in Ohio but file over fifty tax forms every month. Is that right? We certainly don’t have to contend with that anywhere else we do business.

It is pretty simple, everything else being equal (and it almost always is), businesses will go where there is less regulation not more. And when businesses goes there, the people follow.

This is just another nail in the coffin for Ohio and I fear one of many to follow.

Very sad.

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19MPur1021240(15 comments)posted 6 years ago

I have worked my fair share of jobs; union and non union, and I can tell you that if you force seven sick days on these companies many people will abuse them, and companies will leave Ohio.
I have NEVER worked for a company that gave more than 5 sick days a year, and that should be more than enough.
We already have the family medical leave act, not to mention AFLACK, We should start with 2 or 3 sick days per year with the OPPORTUNITY to earn more based on consecutive hours worked up to whatever YOUR specific work week is. Most of us only work five or six days.
Be smart people 7 sick days is BAD for Ohio

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