Some Austinites took the spirit of Labor Day a little too seriously Monday morning by kicking off a campaign to impose a burdensome mandate on employers within the city.
The campaign was launched by Work Strong Austin, a group of different community organizations at the Worker’s Defense Project. They seek to require that all employers in the City of Austin pay employees for sick leave—a move that could be quite costly for those doing business, especially smaller businesses.
Helping kick off the event was Councilmember Greg Casar who says he plans to introduce a resolution at the council meeting on September 28.
“Almost 40 percent of Austin’s workforce is not allowed to earn paid sick days by their employers,” said Casar, who helped sponsor the event along with several labor organizations.
Of course, the practical effect of such a reform would be to make jobs less available. An employer having to pay a sick employee who is not at their job is also having to pay someone to step in and take their place. This makes being an employer in Austin more expensive.
It’s a well-intentioned reform that sounds great on paper, but the net effect will be the same as any other kind of wage-controls or expensive mandates: employers will simply shift this burden downstream by limiting their hiring, lowering wages, or decreasing employees’ shifts.
Employers don’t do business in a vacuum – they will adapt to market and governmental conditions and change their practices in order to protect their bottom line. After all, that’s why they are in business in the first place.
It’s a simple fact: when it becomes more expensive to do business, fewer people will do it.