Florida leads the way

It’s not just Oklahoma. Florida passed a bill last year barring local governments from enacting mandatory paid sick time laws. The Orlando Sentinel reported on June 14:

Florida Gov. Rick Scottdidn’t waste much time in signing a bill Friday that would block local governments from enacting mandatory paid sick time measures, such as the one pending in Orange County.

The Republican governor sided with Walt Disney World, Darden Restaurants, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and a broad array of powerful business interests who argued the ban was needed to avoid a patchwork of local employment rules for companies.

That’s code for “to avoid having to pay for workers’ sick leave.”

“Protecting small businesses and jobs from union mandates that drive up costs makes Florida more competitive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “This law ensures mandatory leave is decided at the state level and preempts union-backed efforts to have local and county governments adopt policies governing terms of employment and other wage related issues.”

That’s right. Paying the workers does indeed drive up costs. Perhaps Florida should consider laws permitting outright slavery.

The AFL-CIO provides some specifics of who promoted the law.

The bill was supported by business interests, including the the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Florida Chamber of Commerce, Walt Disney World and Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

The legislation is similar to model legislation promoted by ALEC in various states and the bill was championed by ALEC member Steve Precourt (R), the state House majority leader. Since 2011, 67 ALEC-sponsored bills to weaken wage standards have been introduced in state legislatures, 12 of which have been signed into law.

Scott’s signing of the bill preempts an Orange County referendum scheduled for 2014 that would have let voters determine whether the county should require businesses to provide paid sick leave. More than 50,000 voters signed petitions to get the measure on the ballot. Big Business opposed the referendum, claiming it would drive up costs, but evidence from other locales that have approved paid sick leave measures found that such laws either had no impact or a positive one on profitability and that such policies are good for business and job growth.

But it’s so much more fun to gouge the workers.


  1. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    So those who already have gobs of money somehow can’t afford some dribbles of money to people who (probably) don’t have enough.

    Or as George Carlin put it:

    “Conservatives say if you don’t give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they’ve lost all incentive because we’ve given them too much money.”

  2. A Masked Avenger says

    I’m not defending this legislation, because I know nothing about it. However, there can be another reason for states passing laws of this type: they’re effectively reserving to themselves the power to decide this question. Some states (not all) have a similar statute banning counties or municipalities from passing gun laws (other than hunting regulations, etc.), to ensure that those laws are uniform across the state.

    It’s possible here that the motivation is not necessarily to hold down the minimum wage, but to retain the power of setting it as a prerogative of the state legislature. Though for the record, I doubt that’s the whole story. If forced to bet real money, I’d bet that corporations affected by local legislation lobbied for this statute, and legislators passed it without caring one way or the other about its affect on the poor, but only to pocket the bribe money.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    A Masked Avenger @ # 2 – not up on recent Florida politics, are ya?

    The teabaggers controlling the state government in Tallahassee have no interest whatsoever in creating coordinated statewide policies – nor, it seems, good government in any form. Even when not explicitly bought-and-paid-for, the majority of the legislature (and certainly R. Scott) come down on the pro-capitalist/anti-labor side every time, by reflex.

  4. anne mariehovgaard says

    evidence from other locales that have approved paid sick leave measures found that such laws either had no impact or a positive one on profitability and that such policies are good for business and job growth

    In addition to the fact that people who are not rich actually spend the money they earn, thereby keeping the local economy going, sick people are less productive and more likely to have/cause accidents and overlook problems that end up costing money. Driving/operating heavy machinery while you’re in pain (or have a fever) is a lot like doing it drunk.

    Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster

    Lovely. I suppose this means they want their employees to show up for work, not lie around in bed just because they’re sick. From a purely selfish point of view, I’d be more than willing to pay a few dollars extra for a meal at a restaurant where cooks, waiters and everyone else working there are encouraged to stay home if they’re ill…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *