The General Assembly will convene on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. One of the top issues being pushed by health officials, unions and progressive groups are efforts to mandate at least 5 paid sick days for hourly-wage workers, many of whom they claim are essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a livestreamed news conference led by a coalition called Virginians for Paid Sick Days on Tuesday, January 5th, Dr. Danny Avula, director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, said doing so would result in “drastic reductions in the exposure and the potential for spread.”
The paid sick leave bill was killed in the spring, then again in the summer special session, with some critics fearing businesses would not be able to handle the cost. Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Prince William, and Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, are pursuing plans to reintroduce paid sick leave bills in the upcoming session.
Many media outlets covering the press conference including the Richmond Times Dispatch, quoted NFIB’s opposition:
“The National Federation of Independent Business, which advocates for small-business owners, said in a statement Tuesday that a “cookie cutter approach” would harm small businesses already struggling to economically recover. In a survey presented by the organization’s research foundation, 73% of small-business owners said they offered their full-time employees paid time off, and 92% were against required paid medical leave.
“What our members oppose is a government mandate that assumes every business of any type or size can afford to offer the same benefits as large companies offer their employees,” said NFIB Virginia State Director Nicole Riley. “In the long run, if the company can’t sustain such a plan, especially when many small businesses are struggling financially, it will ultimately hurt the workers if the small business can’t manage the requirements.”