Consider this another reason I neither live in the District of Columbia nor have my business registered there.
The District could become the second U.S. city to require employers to provide paid sick leave to all workers, a move advocates say could protect employees from having to choose between keeping themselves healthy and keeping their job. Opponents say such a law could prompt businesses to reduce benefits and lay off workers.
The D.C. Council is scheduled to vote on the measure Jan. 8 after several months of negotiations.
Under the bill, large businesses, defined as having 51 employees or more, would have to provide up to seven days of paid leave. Small businesses — those with 10 or fewer workers — would have to offer up to three days. Two other categories of employers would fall in between, and part-time workers would get half the number of days.
What makes the D.C. city council so confident that it knows better how to run the businesses in its borders than the owners of those businesses? More importantly, what makes it believe that it has the right to dictate its opinions on proper compensation packages?
Employers would pay an average of $10.35 more a week per employee to be in compliance, said Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, which studies the District’s finances. “It’s not nothing, but it’s not huge,” he said. “It’s not as big and scary as they think.”
Does the business owner think $10.35 more per week per employee, with no increase in productivity or revenue, is not huge? She bears the cost. Her opinion should matter exclusively, in anticipation and response to what her employees demand.
To put this in perspective, we must consider what that $10.35 means in practice, not in subjectively judged theory. Assume the minimum business required for full compliance, 51 employees. The cost is expressed as $10.35 because it appears insignificant. But the first thing the business owner will do is multiply $10.35 times 51 employees times 52 weeks. The result is a $27,448.20 increase in expenses for the employer. What could $27,448.20 buy instead? I’ll guess employee number 51 in my scenario, although the logic holds whether we’re talking about employee number 51 or employee number 63.
The first city to engage in this:
The D.C. measure falls short of a law on sick leave in San Francisco, which became a pioneer when 61 percent of voters approved a 2006 ballot initiative to require that employers of 10 or fewer workers provide five days of paid leave and that larger employers give nine days. The law went into effect in February.
How many of those 61 percent of
voters malcontents run a business? Mob rule (allegedly) seeks to raise everyone up to a higher standard, but serves little purpose other than to bring everyone down to a base level. Aside from its illegitimacy, it is cruel. I doubt seriously that the employee who might’ve earned $27,448.20, or the customers who will now be asked to pay the expense, would prefer the sympathy over the money.