Stand up against paid sick day mandates

One of the latest and greatest "ideas" for a new burden to put onto businesses is paid sick days. Local governments are discussing mandates for sick leave, which would require employers to give all employees sick days.

I'm not opposed to the idea of sick days in general. It's a nice benefit to give to people who have actually earned it. The sick days come in handy when someone in the family is sick. The person can skip work without missing out on the pay.

Yet it's insane to require employers to give this benefit. Benefits are exactly what they sound like: earned rewards at jobs that are provided at the option of the employer. Some jobs offer benefits, some do not. Those who wish to have benefits have every opportunity in the United States to work hard, get training and education, and move up to a job that offers benefits.

But it seems that plenty of politicians don't care if employees earn their benefits or not. You see, the market dictates what a job is worth. If a good employee can do the same job elsewhere for more pay and more benefits, she or he will probably quit and go elsewhere. The market tells the employer how much to pay and what to offer. But politicians and activists don't care about the free market.

It's silly to mandate things like paid sick days. All it does is lead us closer to Communism. All jobs are not equal. All employees do not deserve to paid and rewarded equally. There is a market for the services of people, and the market should be allowed to work. Offering guaranteed pay and benefits to people who haven't earned them gives the people zero incentive to become a better, more efficient, more effective employee.

The government needs to quit telling businesses how to run themselves. Each mandate costs a company more, pushing it that much closer to being put out of business. Someone has to pay the cost of the mandate, and it's the owner of the business. Remember that entrepreneurship built our country, and it is responsible for continuing innovation and increased quality of life. Take away the incentive to start a business (that would be the profit) and you will see fewer and fewer entrepreneurs innovating.

I do have one suggestion for any business that gets caught up in forced sick day benefits: Reduce the pay of any employee who falls under this provision proportionately to pay for the benefit. It's the only thing that makes sense in a time when controlling costs is key. And if some of your employees are being paid minimum wage and therefore can't have a wage reduction, reduce the pay of their co-workers even more to make up the difference.

It's amazing how politicians and activists cry when jobs are lost and businesses are closed. They need to realize that they are the ones to blame for making our business climate one in which very few can survive. Stand up to silly rules like this which really add nothing to society in the long run.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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