Like other small-business owners, he said, he’s reluctant to hire when he knows his costs are on the rise. And he said he had concerns that employees who aren’t feeling great, but not very ill, would be more inclined to take time off.
The sick time proposal is “one of these things that makes people feel good but can be destructive,” he said. “It’s ridiculous, all the non-wage costs of running a business are going through the roof. And people wonder why there aren’t more jobs.”
State Senator Daniel A. Wolf, a Democrat representing the Cape and Islands and leading advocate of the bill, called the issue one of fundamental fairness, on par with child labor laws. The chief executive of the regional airline Cape Air, he said the company has offered paid sick leave since he founded it 25 years ago.
On average, he said, his employees use about half their allotted sick time of five days. More importantly, he said, employees don’t fear getting sick and losing a day’s pay — and perhaps their ability to pay the rent or put food on the table.
“This is not a significant increase in expense, and it has a huge impact on the quality of life that the employees have,” he said. “This will make an absolute difference in the lives of people.”
Megan Woolhouse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.