LOS ANGELES TIMES CARTOON: Sick Days as “Job Killer”

Sick Days as Job Killer

There they go again.

Whenever anyone floats an idea that would improve the lives of workers — shorter hours, higher wages, or better working conditions — employers claim they’ll be forced to fire workers.

They’re always wrong. But they never shut up.

The California Chamber of Commerce, which represents business, has elevated this argument to a media event. This year’s annual CCOC “Job Killer” list features 26 bills the organization would like to kill. (Last year, the CCOC killed 35 out of 36 pro-worker bills on its hit list.)

Among the “killer 26” is AB 1522, sponsored by Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat. Gonzalez’s bill would guarantee California workers at least three paid sick days a year. (The exact formula is one sick hour for every 30 hours worked.)

To hear employers whine, you’d think that letting employees stay home sick less than one percent of the year — as opposed to dragging themselves to their jobs where they may infect coworkers and customers — would destroy the capitalist system.

Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner (R-Irvine) called the bill an “ill-considered, heavy-handed, one-sided piece of legislation,” Melanie Mason reports in The Times.

A similar law recently went into effect in New York over the objections of the city’s billionaire then-mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who argued that sick leave laws “hurt small businesses and stifle job creation.”

But there’s a problem with the Chamber of Commerce “job killer” talking point: it’s baseless. There’s no evidence that requiring companies to provide paid sick leave hurts business. A year and a half after such a law went into effect in Connecticut, for example, a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that “the impact of the new law on business has been modest…nearly two-thirds said it had led to no change or an increase of less than 2% in their overall costs. About another 12% didn’t know how much their costs had increased.”

“Virtually none [of the companies] reported reducing wages,” the authors wrote. “About 90% did not reduce their workers’ hours; 85% did not find it necessary to raise prices.”

Job killer? Job annoyer, at most.

Meanwhile, Seattle enacted a major increase in the minimum wage, to $15 per hour, prompting predictions that similar wage hikes could spread across the nation. As usual, pro-business extremists are predicting doom. ” Seattle’s economy will be hurt by this policy and so will some low skill workers who will lose their jobs thanks to the people claiming to be helping them,” Jeffrey Dorfman writes in Forbes.

In the real world, however, minimum wage increases have not caused job losses — even in isolated hamlets like SeaTac, Washington, where restaurants and other low-wage employers could seemingly pick up and move a few miles away.

Courtesy of the big business lobby, that’s the screw-the-workers propaganda machine for you. Why let facts get in the way of the eternal quest for an extra buck?

3 thoughts on “LOS ANGELES TIMES CARTOON: Sick Days as “Job Killer”

  1. Strange how the more u make the more ‘sick’ days u get and the less u make u are ‘lucky’ to get 3 G-damned days or in NY u get 5! At my job, we can give our sick days to those who need more! How more socially responsible can u get?

    3 or 5 sick days is progress in the nineteen century!

  2. > Seattle enacted a major increase in the minimum wage, to $15 per hour

    And simultaneously raised the local City Light CEO to $175 an hour. Funny how CEO salaries aren’t job killers the same way that workers’ salaries are…

  3. The age old threat of treating workers as if they were human can be summed up in the deep regrets of the owning class consequent to freeing slaves.

    And now for it’s modern counterpart: “It’s Communism I tell ya’. It’s pure and simple Communism. The Rooskies are behind this incitation to insubordination. You’ll see.”

    J. Edgar Hoover is turning some high RPMs in his grave.