Mandated Paid Sick Leave: Plumbing a Depth Below Fiftieth


The Providence Journal’s Patrick Anderson had an article yesterday about an anti-business, anti-job bill pending at the General Assembly that would mandate that Rhode Island businesses provide paid sick days to all employees.

Few companies say they want their employees to come to work sick.

But many are adamant that the government shouldn’t mandate paid sick time, and they’re opposing a bill being debated by state lawmakers that would allow all Rhode Island workers to earn up to seven days paid sick time per year.

By the way, a new ad by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity beautifully, disturbingly encapsulates what will almost certainly happen if both mandatory paid sick time and legalized marijuana become law.

Anderson’s article points out that

Five states in the country require paid sick time

… in some form, with some states giving exemptions for seasonal work or small companies. Connecticut in 2011 was the first state to mandate some paid sick time. The states listed in Anderson’s article as offering mandatory paid sick time – California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont – are not particularly known for their friendly business climate. Accordingly, it is not a “trend” that the Rhode Island General Assembly should join, not even with exemptions.

As with “free” college tuition, mandatory paid sick leave most definitely would have a price. This price would be exacted from Rhode Island’s already over-burdened business community (and, therefore, on employees and on job creation) — but also on the state as a whole in the form of an even worse business climate and corresponding damage to the state’s tax base, already shriveled by passage of decades of similarly burdensome laws whose sole effect has been to repel new businesses and to suffocate or even extinguish existing ones.

If the state is ever to repair its business climate and build back its tax base, state legislators and leaders must rescind the many business-impeding laws on the books rather than energetically plumb for a business climate depth lower than fiftieth, if that’s even possible, by piling on yet another very misguided and damaging anti-business, anti-employment mandate.