November 13 2009
Carrie L. Lukas
The New York Times section "Economix" claims to explain "the science of everyday life." But in his November 11th write up about the White House endorsement of mandatory paid sick leave, the reporter Steven Greenhouse doesn't explain anything. Greenhouse opens:
The H1N1 pandemic is raising concerns about people reporting to work sick and spreading the disease. The pandemic has given momentum to Congressional efforts to enact legislation that would guarantee paid sick days to tens of millions of workers - although it is far from clear that such legislation will be enacted. Those legislative efforts received added momentum on Tuesday when the Obama administration backed the Healthy Families Act, which would guarantee seven sick days a year to workers in companies with 15 or more employees.
Greenhouse later concludes with a quote from the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee's Subcommittee on Children and Families, Deputy Labor Secretary Seth Harris:
The vision for the Department of Labor is good jobs for everyone. And one of the key components of a good job is having workplace flexibility for family and personal caregiving. We believe that work-life balance includes policies such as paid leave, flexible work schedules and teleworking, employee assistance programs, child care, and elder care support.
Nowhere in between does Greenhouse ever address the downsides of this regulation. Contrast that with this NPR report which took the time to contact the National Federation of Independent Businesses for their position:
If they [businesses] don't offer paid sick leave it's probably because they can't afford it...Paying wages is sometimes all an employer can do.
That's something NYT readers may want to consider, especially when we already face double-digit unemployment.