The push for paid sick days in various cities and states has won some crucial victories, the latest of which was in New York City. But “preemption bills,” laws orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that override any efforts to implement paid sick days, are also gaining speed, with the latest passed by Florida’s state Senate on Friday. The bill, which had huge support from Disney World, Darden Restaurants (owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster), and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, would delay local government efforts to adopt paid sick leave policies.
The bill was a response to voters’ efforts in Orange County to pass paid sick leave legislation, the Orlando Sentinel reports:
The measure would render moot a 2014 referendum in Orange County over whether to require that many businesses offer paid sick leave to workers.
More than 50,000 Orange County voters tried to place the earned sick-time measure on the Nov. 6 ballot last year, but the County Commission voted to keep it off. Afterward, a three-judge panel ordered the board to put it on the 2014 ballot. But even if the sick-time ordinance passes then, the bill would preempt Orange from adopting it.
Florida is the latest state to see these preemption bills. They have also sprung up in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Mississippi. The model legislation is part of ALEC’s concerted efforts at the state level to weaken wage and labor standards. Since 2011, 105 bills have been introduced in 31 state legislatures, 67 of which were sponsored by ALEC-affiliated lawmakers, and 11 have been signed into law.
Big business has been fighting paid sick leave in Florida and elsewhere by claiming that it will drive up costs. Yet a study of San Francisco’s policy shows that a majority of businesses saw no impact on profitability or a positive one, and other research has shown such policies to be good for business and job growth.