So the voters of Orange County, Florida are starting a drive to get an initiative added to the ballot in November: A law that would require employers to give an employee one hour off with pay for every 37 hours worked. All the employee must do is call in sick, and get paid for not being at work. This means that for every 37 hours of work, the employer must pay the worker 38 hours of pay.

This astounds me that people do not see what will happen here: Employers in Orange County will have to find a way to be competitive with businesses that are not in Orange County. There are a few ways to do this:
1 Not own a business in Orange County
2 Cut employee wages by 3%
3 Get rid of 3% of the workforce

Many will not be able to raise prices, because they will lose sales to businesses that are outside the county and charge less.

One way to reduce the workforce is by contracting. I work for an employer that only has ten employees, and the rest of us are “independent contractors” who are issued 1099’s for work. We must pay our own taxes, so we are not employees: but we must still punch a time clock, wear a uniform, follow the policies of the employer, and are paid by the hour. Don’t like it? If you complain, they will simply not call you to work any longer.

Local theme parks do the same thing. My son dates a woman that is employed by a company that is a contractor, contracted to a local theme park to train animals for shows in the park. They are paid 6 hours a day, but must work until the jobs are done: mostly this means a 10 hour workday.

My ex-wife once worked for an employer that refused to pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week. Instead, they added hours worked to a “paid time off” bank that you could theoretically use as vacation. The problem was that they never let you take the time off that you had earned. When she complained, they fired her. She had to hire a lawyer and sue them in order to get paid for the time that she had banked.

With laws like simply being paid for the time you actually work being ignored, I just don’t believe that paid sick time will work.

This new law is a bad idea, and will not fix anything. Employers will just find ways to skirt the law, and it will hurt people in the long run.

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1 Comment

Ruth · July 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

I also work as an external contractor. It sucks big time…

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