Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Gregory Stanford wants to interfere with my business. In his Sunday commentary, "Don't call in sick at some firms", he calls for a law wherein employees would have the "right to earn up to nine sick days a year, to be used for actual illnesses."
Stanford predictably tells only half of the story by sharing anecdotes about people who became sick but had to come to work anyway. But no mention of the difficulty posed to businesses when employees decide to take a day off for the hell of it, as some surely would, or do.
I don't offer sick pay at my small business. My employees understand the reality that apparently does not dawn on Gregory Stanford. Small retail businesses, and I suspect many other businesses, don't have piles of extra money to throw around.
But I do the best I can to keep my employees happy. I am as flexible as I can be with requests for time off. I offer significant discounts to employees who may wish to purchase our items. I have given bonuses and this year a few of my long time employees were given a weeks paid vacation. If someone needs more hours, I try to accomodate them.
I do all this in part because I am a swell guy, but there is more to it than that. I want to keep good employees as happy as I can, so they continue to work for me. But I am constrained by reality as are most people. I can't offer health insurance, sick days, or six figure salaries. I do the best I can by my employees.
But my best is not good enough for Gregory Stanford.
The cruel irony is that Stanford's proposed law would be harmful to the very people he purportedly seeks to help. If our legislators pass new laws that undermine my business, I would probably manage to survive. I could make no such promises to my employees.