GOP Governor Rick Scott signs ALEC-backed bill banning paid sick leave

June 17, 2013
By

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill on Friday which blocks local governments from implementing mandatory paid sick leave legislation, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The Republican governor sided with businesses such as Walt Disney World, Darden Restaurants, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and a broad array of powerful business interests that argued the ban was needed to avoid various local employment rules for companies.

Scott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took Scott only 4 of the 15 days he was allowed legally to review the bill before signing.
Think Progress reports:

The bill is part of a national effort to pass so-called “preemption bills” that would block paid sick leave legislation that is backed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing group that coordinates conservative laws across states. The state’s House Majority Leader, Steve Precourt (R), who was instrumental in putting forward the preemption bill, is an active ALEC member.

….

Florida follows a rash of preemption bills in the states, which cropped up inWisconsinMichigan, and Mississippi. These bills are part of ALEC’s efforts to weaken wage and labor standards: Since 2011, 67 such ALEC-affiliated bills have been introduced in state legislatures, 11 of which had been signed into law before Scott signed this bill.

GOP,  you’re doing that outreach thing wrong.

More at Think Progress. 

Image: Salon

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  • Walter Eagle

    I know the military is an entirely different kettle of fish, being relatively socialist in nature. But in 4 years of service, I never took a sick day, I did see the medic a few times, for a sprained chest muscle, for the trots, and for a minor head wound that took a few stitches. We had a fairly healthy life style in terms of exercise and diet, but I do count myself lucky for never breaking a bone. Not my own nor anyone else’s.
    We did have some extra incentives. If you were shown to be reliable and dependable, you were more likely to get promoted, and given priority in better duty assignments.

    In the civilian world, i have seen a system with one employer, that if you did not use your entitled sick days, they would give you a set cost of what it would have cost to hire a replacement for those days.

  • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/akinsc Carla
  • F M

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

    But one could argue that either way, a person is being paid for work that they did not do. That was the point I was getting at. Why should anyone be legally *required* to pay another person for work they did not do? In either scenario, that strikes me as an act of generosity rather than a moral and ethical requirement. If a company wants to create a policy of doing so in order to attract and retain employees, then great. It may also be good business. But that’s a different question.

    Also, I made two points. I think my first point stands .

    • jelun

      What makes you think that the work doesn’t get done by the person when they return to work in a healthy state?

      • F M

        That’s not what I wrote. I wrote about paying a person for work they did not do. If a person is out of work, then by definition, they did no work that day.

  • jelun

    Thank you for being so much nicer than I was able to be.

    • Elizabeth Chubbuck

      LOL. Don’t worry, I like your comment too!!

      • F M

        Seems we have a burgeoning mutual admiration society here….

        ;-) Listen, I’m just saying that I don’t get why people can’t discuss and disagree without assuming the worst of others, without getting angry or insulting. People do this all the time in person. But somehow, when they’re on the Internet, many forget basic civility and decency – as though there isn’t a real human being they’re responding to.

    • F M

      I’m not sure why you felt the need to share that, jelun. Is there something praiseworthy about not being able to carry on a civil conversation without insulting someone with whom you disagree?

      Isn’t discussion supposed to be about reaching a better understanding of one another and issues rather than just finding and praising people with whom one already agrees?

      • jelun

        Is there something praiseworthy about stretching the bounds of a reasonable position?

        You used an example that has absolutely nothing to do with an employer and employee with earned benefits. It was not an insult it was a question, direct, not as polite and amiable as it might have been. I can see you didn’t feel able to answer it, that you could only respond to the perceived barb.

        • F M

          jelun, there was no substantive “question” in your first post. There was no question at all. Here’s what you wrote to Elizabeth, “Thank you for being so much nicer than I was able to be.” This was, at best, a passive-aggressive insult and high five to Elizabeth. If you can show me how to interpret it differently, by all means, let me know.

          You write,”You used an example that has absolutely nothing to do with an employer and employee with earned benefits.”

          That’s false.

          1) I already explained to Elizabeth the way in which these examples alike. Both involve paying a person for work they did not do.

          2) You’re begging the question by referring to “earned” benefits. They are not actually “earned” if the employer and employee never agreed that they would accrue or if the state does not mandate that they must accrue.

          • jelun

            Sure looks like a question mark to me…and is preceded by the phrase “let me ask you”. So there is not just one, but two indicators of a question.
            And now, I am sick of it. I will make this a statement. You are working way too hard at misunderstanding and twisting any information that is posted that proves the point that if a person is out of work on one day then they make up that work plus the work of the following day(s) when they return. If you don’t know that, I am guessing, you never worked at a job with paperwork that had to get done that only one person in the office knew how to do.
            jelun F M • 3 hours ago

            Let me ask you, are you working at this inability to comprehend anything or just naturally unable to think?

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            • F M

              You write, “Sure looks like a question mark to me…and is preceded by the phrase “let me ask you”. So there is not just one, but two indicators of a question. ”

              1) You’re getting confused. That was not the comment to which I was referring. I already quoted the correct comment for you. You first wrote, “Thank you for being so much nicer than I was able to be.”

              I responded, “I’m not sure why you felt the need to share that, jelun. Is there something praiseworthy about not being able to carry on a civil conversation without insulting someone with whom you disagree?”

              You responded, “Is there something praiseworthy about stretching the bounds of a reasonable position? You used an example that has absolutely nothing to do with an employer and employee with earned benefits. It was not an insult it was a question…”

              To which I responded, “You write, ‘It was not an insult it was a question’ jelun, there was no question in your first comment at all. You made a statement. No question mark. Here’s what you wrote to Elizabeth, ‘Thank you for being so much nicer than I was able to be.’”

              Follow now?

              2) Even if you were correct on the sequence of the discussion (which you’re not), this is the comment you’re leaning on as a defense, “Let me ask you, are you working at this inability to comprehend anything or just naturally unable to think?”

              You’re arguing that this was a substantive comment and not a rhetorical insult? Really? ;-) So, let me see. I suppose you were actually inviting me to say something like, “No, jelun, I’m really not working at my inability to comprehend anything and I’m actually not naturally unable to think. Let me try to prove it for you by doing some math problems and quoting Chaucer from memory.”?

              Come on.

              At least here you made an actual, substantive point. And I’d be glad to answer it for you. You wrote, “You are working way too hard at misunderstanding and twisting any information that is posted that proves the point that if a person is out of work on one day then they make up that work plus the work of the following day(s) when they return. If you don’t know that, I am guessing, you never worked at a job with paperwork that had to get done that only one person in the office knew how to do.”

              But you want *all* businesses to provide sick leave under force of the law. Well, you already noted an example where the work *doesn’t* get done. The example you mentioned isn’t the only one. Let me give you another couple off the top of my head: 1) anything involving sales. If a person involved in sales misses a day, that day can’t just be “made up”. It may result in lost revenue that will never be recouped; 2) Anyone working in the service industry – like a mechanic, HVAC tech, etc. When the capacity of the business is lowered because of missing employees, then fewer customers can be serviced – customers which may then turn to competitors.

              I would also note that even under your argument, there’s a certain injustice. If a person is out on sick leave but their work still gets done, then other people are doing their work while the person not working gets the financial benefit. Now, that’s fine if everyone is sick about the same amount of time. But what about those people who are sick quite a bit more? Is it fair that everyone else has to pick up the slack while that person gets the actual financial benefit? I think we all know people like that. I certainly do and it ticks a lot of people off.

  • randommomster

    The headline is misleading. However, I am not surprised that the party of limited government is up to this stuff.

    Also, calling paid sick leave “noble” or “charitable” is misleading. It’s also a public good. How often have you been to a restaurant or retail store and been helped by someone who is obviously ill? They’re working that day because they must, or not get paid. And they make so little that they have no cushion to tide themselves over. And so sickness spreads.

    It used to be that you could eke out a very modest living with the minimum wage, while learning the skills to advance to the next rung. Then it became a way for high school kids to save up enough for college, and earn a few bucks on the side while in college. Now, it’s the indenture the low-skilled suffer while they try to hold down several of those positions to not-quite get by, nevermind advance in skills or training. “Nickel and Dimed to Death” is a troubling and instructive read.

    The pendulum has swung too far.

    • F M

      It seems that you’re responding to me, randommomster. Yes? If so, I appreciate that you agree the headline is misleading.

      However, just fyi, I’m not a Republican. I’m an Independent.

      Also, I didn’t only say that paid sick leave is noble or charitable. I said it may also be good business.

      I agree that there may be an issue of the “public good” in regard to paid sick leave, although I think you’re exaggerating the danger there and underestimating the negative effectives when the government forces businesses to pay for work not performed. But more importantly, if it really is a “public good” (keeping sick people home), that doesn’t necessarily lead to the conclusion that the business which is already being harmed by the loss of a worker must also be the one to pay the cost of that “public good.” If the danger is so great to the public good as you seem to consider it, then perhaps it would be better to have employees pay into an insurance pool that would pay them when they’re sick. That would also help to keep them from abusing sick leave because their premiums would go up if everyone abuses the system.

      Just an idea.

      The rest of your argument is a more general one against Capitalism. I think that may be getting a little too far of track.

      • rnrstar

        Except then it will be just like unemployment where legislators now want people to have to take drug tests to get the money they paid into that unemployment insurance. IOW, they will find some way to keep that money the employees pay into and they still won’t be able to take their sick time off.

        • F M

          I’m not sure I understand your concern, rnstar. At least in my experience, people regularly receive unemployment benefits. It doesn’t seem to be a scam where few can collect. Also, unemployment insurance is paid by employers – at least in my state. It’s not paid by the employees themselves.

          I think there are a number of ways that such a program could be created and administered (privately, publicly, paid by employees completely, paid by employers completely, shared by both, etc, etc.). It would probably make sense for the states to operate as testing grounds to see what works best and why – then we can all learn from one another’s experiences.

      • randommomster

        Not replying to you specifically, but more to the ideas raised, some by you, some by others. I wasn’t assuming you to be a Republican. Rick Scott is, and the Rs hold themselves out as the party of limited government. For the record, I have always felt myself to be an Independent. If my views are to be set along the D–R spectrum, then I have moved from mildly right of center to flaming lib, largely without changing any of my opinions.

        I do not attack capitalism. I attack unrestrained, unregulated capitalism. As for how to keep sick people home, you would have the entire burden be borne by people who simply cannot afford it. If they could, they’d BE home. And now you want to have individuals pay into some kind of fund to cover sickness. Presumably there’d need to be a bureaucracy created to manage the financing and disbursement. Better still, let’s privatize that function! There’s a nice opportunity for further profit off of the already near-destitute!

        How about we require sick leave to be offered, same as we require safety equipment, decent working conditions, limits on hours worked, and the like? The business will bear the expense, the same way they bear the others without the dire consequences offered up every time there is worker-friendly legislation enacted. There are still problems with that approach: who decides when an employee is sick? Are we going to further burden the medical system with people seeking notes from their doctor attesting to their cold and fever? What about people who cannot afford to see a doctor? My husband and I are not working minimum wage, or even close, but with a $50 copay per visit, we think twice (or more) before deciding to go to the doctor. Lab test? That’s extra. Return visit to discuss the results? Kaching – another $50. But let’s not let perfection be the enemy of better.

        Businesses who pay substandard wages and offer no benefits are already picking my pocket. But the economic rent is going into the pockets of the owners. I don’t begrudge profit. But I have a big problem with corporations who push their costs off onto taxpayers, and pocket the rewards. I’m looking at you, Walmart, though Walmart is far from being the only guilty party here.

        Software engineers, attorneys, politicians – they have economic power. If they are offered a position without sick leave, they will laugh in the face of the offer. But we’re not talking about economic actors with bargaining power. We’re talking take it or leave it positions offered to the economically powerless.

        I am not a communist. I don’t believe in “income inequality” as a sin. What IS a sin is destabilizing income redistribution, and consolidation of opportunity to only those who already enjoy privilege of family or wealth. Economic gains go ever more disproportionately to the wealthy in this nation. As Warren Buffet pointed out, there IS class warfare, and his class is winning.

        • F M

          I appreciate your thoughtful (and thorough!) reply. I’m not sure I have time to do everyone
          point you raised justice. But I’ll
          try to touch on a few.

          You write, “I do not attack capitalism. I attack unrestrained,
          unregulated capitalism.”

          That wasn’t my point. And I didn’t
          say that you “attack” capitalism.
          I agree that a legitimate conversation can be had about the moral and
          ethical framework that should surround a Capitalist system. I also agree that it would be a very
          interesting and worthwhile discussion.
          I was only saying that I thought the last paragraph in your first
          comment was too broad for the specific topic, too large to handle well in a
          comments box.

          You write, “As for how to keep sick people home, you would have the entire
          burden be borne by people who simply cannot afford it.”

          That’s not what I “would have”, as though I said it needs to happen. I suggested one, reasonable, alternative
          view, as an example. Below, before
          your latest response, I wrote the following to another commenter here which
          will make that point clearer: “I
          think there are a number of ways that such a program could be created and
          administered (privately, publicly, completely paid by employees, completely
          paid by employers, shared equally by both, etc, etc.). It would probably make
          sense for the states to operate as testing grounds to see what works best and
          why – then we can all learn from one another’s experiences.”

          You write, “How about we require
          sick leave to be offered, same as we require safety equipment, decent working
          conditions, limits on hours worked, and the like?”

          I’m not convinced that’s a good idea to use the power of the government to
          force such a one-size-fits-all approach on businesses in this situation. I don’t think it’s the same as
          protecting a working from a business that requires its workers to use dangerous
          equipment.

          Additionally, the approach you’re advocating leaves out the majority of
          American workers. Most
          workers are not employed by businesses that are covered by such laws because they
          typically don’t apply to small businesses and small businesses employ more
          people than big businesses like the ones you focused on. See: http://economics.about.com/od/smallbigbusiness/a/us_business.htm).
          Does a person working for a
          small business matter less than a person working for a big business? I’m sure you’d agree that they don’t.

          And I think it would be a mistake to force something like mandatory paid sick
          leave on small businesses. It
          would likely end up putting a good number of them out of business – which is
          bad for everyone. Conversely, a
          fund or insurance pool that applies to all
          businesses and employees (regardless of size) would treat everyone
          equally. It would be more like
          worker’s compensation insurance or like unemployment insurance in that
          regard. By turning it into an
          insurance product, the weight of the burden is spread out so that it’s less
          likely to cause significant damage to a business or to an employee. Again, I’m not married to this
          idea. Just proposing and mulling
          it over.

          You write, “There are still problems with that approach: who decides
          when an employee is sick? Are we going to further burden the medical system
          with people seeking notes from their doctor attesting to their cold and fever?
          What about people who cannot afford to see a doctor?”

          I would say that such questions and issues could reasonably be addressed over
          time by experiment – trial and error.

          You write, “Businesses who pay
          substandard wages and offer no benefits are already picking my pocket.”

          Sure. But there’s a significant amount of
          subjectivity in that statement.
          There can be a wide amount of divergence as to what constitutes
          “substandard wages”. Also, 1)
          should business that do pay fair wages and offer benefits be financially
          penalized (being legally forced to pay for work not performed) because some
          business don’t? And 2) How do we
          know that all businesses that pay lower wages and lower benefits aren’t doing
          so because they’re struggling financially? Again, what I’m suggesting here is that we shouldn’t
          broad-brush businesses any more than we should broad-brush employees.

          You write, “What IS a sin is destabilizing income redistribution, and
          consolidation of opportunity to only those who already enjoy privilege of
          family or wealth.”

          Sure. I wouldn’t disagree. But there is more than one way to
          approach such problems and more than one view the extent of the problem and its
          cause.

          Sometimes the “cure” may have worse side effects than the disease itself. Personally, I think it makes sense to
          be wary of giving government more power, too. My enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend. The NSA, IRS and AP scandals should
          remind us that the government can also be a ravenous wolf in search of power
          and influence. I hesitate to
          consolidate power into even fewer political hands. That can invite all sorts of trouble and abuse as well.

          So, getting back to the central point of the article, I don’t see anything
          inherently evil and stupid in what Governor Rick Scott did here – blocking
          local governments from forcing business to pay employees for work not
          performed. I think there are
          reasonable pros and cons on both sides of the debate. You’ve made several thoughtful points and I’ve tried to
          present other reasonable possibilities.

          • randommomster

            SO MANY things to reply to, and I am loving this discussion. Much food for thought. I lack the time to do all the points justice, so I am afraid I need to cherry pick a bit at this time.

            (1) It’s rewarding and important to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Only then can we expect that we’re being listened to, and in turn we are more inclined to do some listening ourselves. It’s the only way to find common ground. Not to say I’ve never been dismissive in my life. I have, and it’s not to my credit. This kind of discussion is an important reminder of what’s lost once we go to that loggerhorns place.

            “So, getting back to the central point of the article, I don’t see anything inherently evil and stupid in what Governor Rick Scott did here – blocking local governments from forcing business to pay employees for work not performed.” Stupid? Not at all. ALEC is clever like a fox. Evil? How about “not in the public interest.” Here’s why: the more they can preclude legislation not to their liking by having enacted blocking legislation from a hierarchically superior regulator or legislator, the fewer entities they need to try to either crawl into bed with or eliminate as legislative threats. Is it easier to have a multitude of county clerks and mayors under control than it is to have state senators and reps? Easier to go state by state, or get the big prize of federal legislation? For the latter, I submit the coup de grace of the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Right now they appear to be playing a state-by-state game, with a long-term view towards the natural progression of these state leaders, into federal politics.

            But sticking to sick leave in particular, we have an example of several years’ standing in San Francisco, CA. A report on it some four years out is available at http://www.iwpr.org/publications/pubs/San-Fran-PSD. The conclusion is that “…Although most businesses already provide paid sick days in the United States, employer organizations have often opposed mandates such as the PSLO.45 However, two-thirds of employers in the only city with experience with a
            paid sick days mandate for all workers are supportive of the policy.”

            This also goes to your point about small vs large business, and how “Most workers are not employed by businesses that are covered by such laws because they typically don’t apply to small businesses and small businesses employ more people than big businesses…” Small business may employ more people, and most small businesses are not required to provide certain benefits, but it does not follow that therefore few people enjoy sick leave, nor does it follow that big business routinely provides it. I have spent nearly all of my adult working life working for small businesses and startups, and I’ve always had sick leave. That’s because my economic bargaining power, however modest, is greater than those who work the low/no skill positions. If all businesses were required to provide some basic level of care, such as is the case in San Francisco, then they’d all be on a level playing field. As for the argument that cities with worker protections will hemorrhage jobs to regulation-free areas, I assure you that San Francisco still has restaurants and dollar stores and temp workers and all manner of jobs. Also per that report, lots of unused sick leave, so they’re not dealing with rampant abuses, either.

            There was a time when it was argued that smoking regulation would put bars and bowling alleys out of business. We know better now. Thanks to San Francisco, we know better on the question of mandatory sick time.

            Much much more to say, but out of time this afternoon. I’ll look in here later. Again, pleasure discussing this with you.

            • F M

              Unfortunately, I don’t have time to continue the discussion. Like you, though, I’ve enjoyed it and genuinely appreciate your thoughtfulness and charity throughout.

              I’ll only make a couple of brief comments-

              You write, “Small business may employ more people, and most small businesses are not required to provide certain benefits, but it does not follow that therefore few people enjoy sick leave, nor does it follow that big business routinely provides it. I have spent nearly all of my adult working life working for small businesses and startups, and I’ve always had sick leave.”

              I’m not saying that no small business provide sick leave. I know they do. I’m just saying that forcing all business without exception to provide sick leave seems imprudent – notwithstanding the limited experience of San Francisco. I think that’s far too small a sample to draw universal conclusions upon (interesting and hopeful thought it may be).

              You write, “Stupid? Not at all. ALEC is clever like a fox. Evil? How about “not in the public interest.”

              Well, that’s certainly at least more charitable than some of what is being said or implied here at this blog. :-) That is the nature of politics. Very rare to find a politician on either side of the political spectrum that is behaving from completely pure motives. But, it seems to me that when the legislation is judged on it’s face, it’s unjustified to hold that there is no way to defend it as reasonable.

              My primary interest was in helping those who demonize the other side to at least stop and think a bit more dispassionately and fairly about it. Why? I don’t think I could express it better than you did right here – quote:

              “It’s rewarding and important to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Only then can we expect that we’re being listened to, and in turn we are more inclined to do some listening ourselves. It’s the only way to find common ground.”

              So I think we’ve come to agreement on the point I cared most about. Take care!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wjhamilton29464 William J. Hamilton

    Right wing Republicans are terrified of America’s growing cities in their red states, which they’ve been unable to control politically. Many of these cities are filled with people who have fled rural and suburban areas, minorities, gays, intellectuals and creative types.

  • F M

    If I’m understanding the story correctly, the headline is misleading – suggesting that the bill actually bans paid sick leave rather than banning local governments from forcing others to provide paid sick leave. The text of the article is more accurate in that regard.

    Just to push back a little here. Let me ask you, if you hire a contractor to do maintenance around your house and he’s out for several days because of sickness, do you personally pay him for the work he didn’t do at that time? Personally, I think it’s noble and generous if one does it, but I’m not convinced that a business should be legally forced to do something very noble and generous.

    • jelun

      Let me ask you, are you working at this inability to comprehend anything or just naturally unable to think?

      • F M

        I’ll make sure to give your comment all the attention and thought it deserves, jelun. ;-) Thanks.

  • DJD11

    And unions, which fought to get workers paid sick leave, are bad how?

    • jelun

      No kidding, when will they ever learn, when will they evverr learn?

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