Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nothing "Earned," but Something Immoral, About Mandatory "Earned Sick Days"

Jon Whiten, the deputy director of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a nonprofit, allegedly nonpartisan research organization, penned an op-ed urging passage of laws that would legally mandate paid sick days both in Jersey City and statewide. 

Mandatory paid sick days is the latest assault on the rights of businessmen to run their businesses as they judge best. Whiten gives the assault a twist, declaring the mandatory sick pay "earned." 

I left these comments:

Statists must always rely on double-speak to advance their agenda.

There is nothing "earned" about sick days imposed by law. Only job benefits agreed to voluntarily by employer and employee are earned. Anything else is theft.

Opponents of this dishonestly misnamed "earned sick days" proposal are right that it is economically destructive, regardless of the alleged evidence to the contrary presented by Whiten. Basic economic theory and a modicum of critical thought will tell you that arbitrarily raising the cost of labor by law will reduce the job market relative to where it would otherwise be.

But this bill is also immoral. Employers have the right to set the terms of employment for the jobs they create and maintain, and job-seekers have the right to agree to the terms, or not. This is called voluntary contract, a basic right derived from the inalienable right to freedom of association. If an employer finds it in his best interest not to offer paid sick days, and his employee finds it in his best interest to accept a job that doesn't include them, no one has a right to impose different terms on them. Such laws as mandatory sick days violate the rights of employer and employee to voluntarily negotiate the terms of their contractual relationship. The government's job is to protect these rights equally for both, and to enforce the terms of voluntary contracts.

Sick days may indeed be good for business, and the fact that most businesses provide them without legal coercion indicates that. But that is for each businessman to decide for itself. If it chooses wrong, it will suffer the consequence of less loyal workers, high employee turnover, etc. Business owners should not concede the moral high ground to the do-gooder thugs who want to impose their terms on them, with the government with its law-making powers as their hired gun. They should stand up for their right to govern their own businesses as they judge best: And, in so doing, they will be standing up for the rights of job-seekers as well—the silent sufferers who have no champions among the welfare statists.

Related Reading:

Fed Up With the Political Status Quo? Discover "The Unknown Ideal."

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