Legislation at the Capitol would preempt city or county ordinances from requiring employers to provide workers with time off to deal with family, medical or health issues.
Representative Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) says mandatory sick leave was passed on referendum in Milwaukee with nearly 70 percent of voters in favor. “What makes you believe that you have the right to override the vote of 69 percent of the people in Milwaukee?”
Representative Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) is the author of the Assembly bill. “You’re going to have businesses leaving that city and that county that are there providing jobs right now because they cannot be competitive.”
Connie Barbian, chair-elect of Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association, says a mandate allows for considerable abuse of the sick leave benefits, which drives up the cost of doing business. “Based on 28 employees qualifying for 72 hours of sick time … it would increase labor … by 5 percent or $23,806.00”
And, she says, that doesn’t include the additional FICA and payroll taxes an employer would have to pay.
Ian Henderson with Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault opposes the bill, saying it wouldn’t require employers to provide sexual assault victims paid leave to seek medical attention, to relocate, or to participate in criminal or civil proceedings.
Representative Barbara Toles (D-Milwaukee) says this bill takes away local control. “People seem to think that they know what’s best for Milwaukee without even talking to the people in Milwaukee about what’s best for them.”
The Assembly Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard testimony on Wednesday on the bills. (Assembly Bill 41/ Senate Bill 23)