Douglas Hall, Ph.D is the Director of Economic and Fiscal Policy at the
Economic Progress Institute.

6 responses to “Businesses and workers win with earned paid sick leave”

  1. jgardner

    One oft repeated refrain of the business community is that they like to compete “on a level playing field”.

    Businesses want to compete on a level playing field with respect to the law and regulation — the law shouldn’t show preferential treatment to some companies over others — not employee benefits.

    By passing this legislation, […] we level the playing field for those firms that have been doing the right thing and offering earned sick leave to their employees.

    No, you don’t. You actually make it harder for those companies already offering paid sick leave to compete as it removes their competitive advantage.

    You don’t get to champion your morality when it comes at the barrel of a gun. If paid sick leave were such a great deal for every employer and every employee in every situation you wouldn’t need to pass a law mandating it.

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    1. Randall Rose

      Classic voodoo economics: “earned sick leave hurts companies that already give sick leave”. I suppose you think laws against child labor were harmful to the companies that refused to employ child labor “as it removes their competitive advantage”. It’s good to see a real economist, Douglas Hall, speaking here, but jgardner’s comment is the kind of pseudo-economic nonsense that a lot of ignorant people spout.

      And to be precise, the earned sick leave law does not “remove the competitive advantage” of the employers who offer earned sick leave already. What it does, of course, is the opposite — it takes away the advantage that employers who do NOT offer sick leave get under the bad set of property rules that the government has been enforcing. To choose whether to enforce the existing set of property rules, or an alternative set of rules that take away the incentive to deny sick leave, is of course a moral decision, just as it was for child labor. People like Kevin Durfee or jgardner strenuously try to keep themselves, and us, from seeing the moral issue here — often by using confused pseudoeconomics, like jgardner does.

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  2. jgardner

    jgardner’s comment is the kind of pseudo-economic nonsense that a lot of ignorant people spout

    An incredibly ironic claim given your utter ignorance surrounding labor markets and how they function.

    In a labor market the employees are sellers and the employers are buyers. If given the choice between Business A which offers paid sick leave and Business B which does not, all else equal Business A will be more attractive to workers than B, which gives A a recruiting advantage. Force all employers to offer said benefit and you precisely eliminate that advantage, thereby harming A’s relative position in the market. That is not “voodoo economics”, it’s basic logic even Dr. Hall would agree with.

    The moral issue here is whether or not it is OK to use the threat of force to coerce Business B into changing their practices when Business B’s existing practices were not violating anyone’s rights. If you believe so deeply in the benefits to employers and employees alike, then convince employers to voluntarily offer paid sick leave. Go around highlighting those businesses who have plans into place and protest those who do not. Getting the government to do what you don’t want to do is the lazy way out; no amount of spin and economic impact studies will change that.

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    1. Randall Rose

      No system of property, nor even systems without property, can avoid involving force. Jgardner thinks that his preferred system of property rules doesn’t involve force, and he criticizes an alternative system\ of property rules for using force. But in fact, force is involved either way. The system of property rules that Jgardner prefers can only be maintained by force, typically by the government forcibly stopping people from using what happens to be designated as someone else’s property. And even if we had no system of property rules, force would still be involved when different people try to do conflicting things with the same objects. So you don’t have the right to act like your approach is the only one that doesn’t use force; all approaches to property or to not having property involve using force.

      The real question is which is morally better. Is it the system that Jgardner likes, using some force, where some businesses get a small advantage from refusing to give sick leave, and the rest of us have to spend an excessive amount of labor in hopes of maybe trying to stimulate the proprietors’ conscience into doing the right thing? Or is it the system where businesses cannot get an advantage from refusing to give sick leave? To answer that, it helps to look at the parallel question of whether we should allow businesses to exploit child labor or not.

      I asked you before what you think of child labor laws, and I’ll ask you again, but so far you’ve been dodging that question. For myself, I’ll say that the right to a childhood where a paid job isn’t even possible is an important right and worth having. I’d say the same about the right to earned sick days. Maybe you’ll claim that these aren’t rights, and I guess you can’t see them as rights as long you see abusing workers as a right. The fact that your approach uses force to defend a system where some businesses actually get a slight competitive advantage by rejecting earned sick leave shows that you have the wrong idea about what rights are.

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  3. jgardner

    Your first paragraph is a complete strawman; congrats on that.

    where some businesses get a small advantage from refusing to give sick leave?

    According to Dr. Hall businesses that offer paid sick leave in RI would save money compared to those that do not, so what net advantage is gained by not offering paid sick leave?

    I asked you before what you think of child labor laws, and I’ll ask you again, but so far you’ve been dodging that question

    No, you made a throwaway moral comparison between paid sick leave and child labor. I can’t dodge a question you never asked.

    For myself, I’ll say that the right to a childhood where a paid job isn’t even possible is an important right and worth having.

    So no more kids who are actors/actresses, babysitters, pet sitters, lifeguards, lemonade sellers and so on?

    I guess you can’t see them as rights as long you see abusing workers as a right

    Not voluntarily offering paid sick leave is abusing workers? You and I clearly have vastly different definitions of what constitutes abuse.

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  4. riprotest

    Mr Gardner, Mr Rose has an excellent understanding of market, however, your the one has understanding beyond your own selfish need. Once again Gardner, your promoting the : me, myself and mine economics. No in the world is important but myself. The last statement, about how not is paying sick leave, indicate you have indeed intense need of counseling for empathy.

    For many people, one emergency in the family without paid can result into a spiral financial disaster.

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