Tempe Chamber Of Commerce

Your Success Is Our Business

Sick Leave Mandate Will Hurt Tempe

Posted on | December 3, 2015 | No Comments

Mary Ann Miller

Mary Ann Miller

 by Mary Ann Miller, President & CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce

The City of Tempe is considering an ordinance that would require businesses to offer paid sick leave to all employees in Tempe. The Tempe Chamber is opposed to adding this mandate to businesses for many reasons, but first and foremost because it will place Tempe businesses at a disadvantage in the region, increasing their costs relative to the competitor down the street, or in some cases, across the street.

In a highly competitive market where downtown Phoenix is in the midst of a resurgence, downtown Gilbert is lightyears from what it once was, and Chandler is a tech hub, we also believe it will discourage businesses from locating in Tempe by increasing costs and creating the perception that Tempe is unfriendly to business.   Tempe is six miles wide. Most businesses would only have to locate a bit out of the city to capture the same market they would a mile or two in.

And those businesses that need to stay here would have to offset the costs somewhere, whether by hiring fewer people or affecting salary. It’s ironic that the City itself has a total compensation model for its employees, where the costs of salaries is affected by increases in the costs of insurance and retirement.

We asked our members their opinion and had 108 responses. 73% of those responding offer paid sick leave, 30% to all employees and 43% to full-time employees. More than half do not require a doctor’s note and another 27% ask for a note only if someone has been out for three days. And even though nearly three quarters of the respondents offer sick leave, 70% oppose it being mandated by the City of Tempe.

When we released the poll, the first feedback I received was an e-mail from a long-time member whose subject line was “Sounds like a reason to move!”

I’ll close with two comments that came from businesses:

“If this “Paid Sick Leave” is mandated by (the) City, (our company) will not be able to afford to do some of the things we now do for our employees. (Things) such as bonuses, reimbursement for CTE education, company sponsorships and contributions will cease or decrease dramatically.”

And

“While we offer unlimited PTO, I don’t think it is appropriate for the government to mandate benefits to businesses. It will have a bearing in businesses when deciding to relocate or move out of Tempe. NOT good for Tempe commerce.”

We at the Tempe Chamber will defend businesses from policies that will increase costs unnecessarily and create an unfavorable business climate in Tempe.

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