Small Business Voice: 'Mandated Paid Leave Would Be a Bookkeeping Nightmare'

Date: May 03, 2016 Last Edit: May 05, 2016

A look at HB3297 and SB2147’s impact on an Illinois small business owner.

Small Business Voice: ‘Mandated Paid Leave Would Be a Bookkeeping Nightmare’

A
flurry of mandated paid sick leave bills hit the Illinois Legislature this
session, and several began advancing from committee last month.

Two
of the major bills are HB 3297 and SB 2147. The House bill would require any
employer with at least one employee to provide paid healthcare leave. For
businesses with fewer than 50 employees, workers would accrue one hour of paid
leave for every 40 hours worked; for businesses with 50 or more employees, the
accrual rate would be one hour per 22 hours worked. The Senate bill would
require employers to provide up to seven paid sick days in a 12-month period.
Here’s a look at how these mandates would impact Ken Jarosch, owner of Jarosch
Bakery in Elk Grove Village. 

Jarosch
Bakery is a full-line, from-scratch retail bakery that has been in business for
57 years. Jarosch’s father and grandfather opened it in 1959, and Ken and his
wife joined the operation in 1990. Throughout the year, the bakery employs
about 62 people; at Christmas, additional seasonal help brings the staff up to
approximately 100 people.

For
Jarosch, who already provides 6 days of use-them-or-lose-them paid sick days to
full-time, regularly scheduled workers, the proposed mandate is unnecessary.

“I’m
opposed to [the bills], mostly because I don’t like being told what to do,” he
says. “But more importantly, I just don’t think a one-size-fits-all regulation
makes sense. When [paid sick leave] starts being mandated for part-time people,
that gets to be a bookkeeping nightmare.”

At
the bakery, there are several classifications of workers. There are full-time
employees with regular schedules, retired workers who work 4- or 5-hour shifts
several days a week, and high school/college workers whose schedules vary
weekly based on class schedule and school extracurricular activities.

A
paid leave mandate for part-time workers with irregular schedules would require
Jarosch to go back through the scheduling records to see who was supposed to be
working and if a sick day was taken that needed to be paid. The legislation
also stipulates that employees’ sick days are based upon their hiring
anniversary date—instead of accrual starting fresh each year on January
1—creating even more bookkeeping headache. 

Jarosch,
who has been active with NFIB on opposing the paid leave measures, has also
talked to other small businesses about the bills. One business owner he spoke
to, a small dental practice, used to offer paid sick leave, but eliminated the
benefit after it was consistently abused, which forced the practice to cancel
customers’ dental appointments because they were short-staffed and couldn’t get
fill-in help. 

“We
as employers should have the flexibility to do what works for our employees,”
Jarosch says, adding that the dentist wasn’t some kind of Scrooge boss—the
practice offers a 401k, paid vacation time, and as much flexibility to workers
as possible.

A
nationwide survey of small businesses has also shown that 73 percent offer paid
time off to full-time workers to be used for sick, personal, or vacation
purposes. Mandating paid leave is simply an unnecessary law that endangers
other benefits that a small business can offer, as well as pay rate and hours
worked.

And
the biggest issue is that, at a small business, it’s not a dedicated payroll or
HR department handling the compliance with mandates like these; it’s the
business owner.

“The
more time we’re spending doing needless type of work, the less time we’re
spending serving our customers or planning for our business,” Jarosch says.

Contact your legislators today
and tell them to vote no on HB 3297 and SB 2147.

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