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The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners rejected a measure that would have required restaurateurs and other businesses in the county to offer paid sick leave to their employees.
The measure, which was opposed by the South Florida Partnership, a coalition of businesses and associations that includes the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, was voted down by a margin of 8 to 4.
Sponsored by Commissioner Barbara Jordan, the “Paid Sick Leave” proposal would have required employers to provide one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Businesses with fewer than five employees would have been exempt from the law.
Opponents said passage of the measure would have had negative effects on job creation in the region.
“Employees are our most valuable asset and our members do their best to accommodate unscheduled leave requests,” said Carol Dover, president and chief executive of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “But this heavy-handed approach would have cut into the already thin margins of the service industry at a time when they can ill afford it.”
Joe Kefauver, executive director of the Profit Per Employee Coalition — a nonprofit group that seeks to introduce the profit per employee metric into the public policy dialog — said the measure would have impacted businesses in the South Florida county unequally.
“It’s extremely short-sighted to think a new government mandate will affect all businesses the same way,” Kefauver said. “The ability of a 10-employee record store to bear this burden is a world apart from a 10-employee startup IT firm. Yet Jordan’s bill makes no distinction.”
Following the vote, Jordan said she plans to reintroduce the measure in six months.
In an earlier statement she had underscored the positive impact paid sick days have on businesses and the economy. “Economists say job retention policies like paid sick days help reduce unemployment and strengthen economic recovery,” she said. “San Francisco, which has had a paid sick days law for four years, was rated by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2011 as one of the top cities in the world in which to do business, and more than two in three San Francisco businesses support the local law with six in seven reporting no negative impact on profitability.”
Paid sick leave bills have been introduced in more than 20 states and cities around the country, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.