Sick time bill bad for business

— GN­PCC thanks O’Neill, O’Bri­en and oth­ers for vot­ing against the city le­gis­la­tion.

On be­half of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce (GN­PCC) and our 800-plus mem­bers, I’d like to thank City Coun­cil­men Bri­an O’Neill, Den­nis O’Bri­en, Dav­id Oh, Bill Green, Jim Ken­ney and Mark Squilla for vot­ing against Bill #130004, the paid sick leave le­gis­la­tion.

If it be­comes law, this meas­ure would re­quire most loc­al busi­nesses to of­fer paid sick time to both full-time and part-time em­ploy­ees. While that is a worthy goal, it would also have un­in­ten­ded (and harm­ful) con­sequences for the same work­ers and busi­nesses the city is try­ing to help.

As the Phil­adelphia Jobs Com­mis­sion’s re­cent re­port ac­know­ledged, our city’s busi­nesses already face sig­ni­fic­ant bur­dens: a maze of reg­u­la­tions, tem­por­ary taxes that be­come per­man­ent, per­man­ent taxes that con­tin­ue to rise and the still-un­known im­pact of AVI. Man­dat­ory paid sick leave would only add to these costs and make Phil­adelphia busi­nesses less com­pet­it­ive with sub­urb­an coun­ter­parts.

In my role as pres­id­ent of GN­PCC, I spend a sig­ni­fic­ant amount of time speak­ing with loc­al busi­ness own­ers. The over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity are smart, well-in­ten­tioned man­agers who want to provide for their fam­il­ies and do right by their em­ploy­ees.

But to meet the cost that paid sick leave would nat­ur­ally add to their busi­ness op­er­a­tions (to say noth­ing of ac­tu­ally earn­ing a profit), many have told me they’ll be forced to elim­in­ate em­ploy­ees or cut back work­er hours. Oth­ers pre­dict they’d have to delay plans to hire new work­ers. Some say they wouldn’t be able to com­plete a planned ex­pan­sion or renov­a­tion.

At a ba­sic level, many own­ers also feel they should be re­spons­ible for mak­ing be­ne­fits and com­pens­a­tions ar­range­ments with their em­ploy­ees, not city gov­ern­ment. I don’t think that’s too much to ask — es­pe­cially as the re­ces­sion con­tin­ues to squeeze profits and shrink con­sumer con­fid­ence.

I thank Coun­cil­men Bri­an O’Neill, Den­nis O’Bri­en and their col­leagues for vot­ing against the paid sick leave le­gis­la­tion, and I urge them to re­main op­posed to it mov­ing for­ward. ••

Al Tauben­ber­ger is pres­id­ent of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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