Associated Industries of Massachusetts today urged employers to voice their opposition to a mandated sick-time bill that has touched off a furious lobbying effort by organized labor, college professors and other supporters.
AIM sent a letter to members of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing this morning expressing employer opposition to An Act Establishing Earned Paid Sick Time, which would require companies with fewer than six employees to provide unpaid sick time, and all other employers to offer paid sick time.
Businesses with six to 10 employees would be required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick time, and businesses with more than 10 employees would be required to offer up to 56 hours of paid sick time.
“AIM believes that decisions regarding any benefit provided to employees should be left to the discretion of the individual employer based on economic circumstances, the size of the company, the nature of the employment relationship with each employee and the competitive environment,” wrote Bradley MacDougall, Vice President of Government Affairs.
The letter also included comments from an employer in Holyoke:
“In this regard company owners and managers are very much aware of how important a part the overall wellbeing of company employees plays in this equation and they do as much as they possibly can, given the economic constraints of the marketplace, to offer a comprehensive employee compensation package that will provide a solid standard of wellbeing for all employees,” said the employer.
AIM delivered the letter as scores of labor union officials and other supporters of paid sick time held a rally at the State House. The pro-mandate lobbying campaign included 45 economics professors from colleges and universities across the commonwealth who argued that “business are the true beneficiaries” of mandated paid time off.
The legislation would make employees eligible for an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers who provide their employees paid time off under a paid time off, vacation or other paid leave policy who make available an amount of paid time off sufficient to meet the accrual requirements of this section that may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as paid sick time are not required to provide additional paid sick time.
AIM and thousands of employers who already provide paid sick time have opposed sick-time mandates because they would take away the flexibility they need to design innovative benefit programs. A mandate could also impose crippling productivity challenges for employers as they scramble to replace people on paid leave. An employer with 20 workers would face up to 140 lost work days per year due to state-mandated paid days alone, in addition to the holidays, vacations and personal days currently provided.
AIM members interested in more information about the pending employment-law bills may contact MacDougall at 617.262.1180, or firstname.lastname@example.org.