ACADEMICS Lonnie Golden and Stephen Herzenberg had a recent op-ed claiming that an ordinance mandating paid family sick leave would be good for businesses and workers. Their argument demands a response:

At issue is whether Philadelphia should impose another mandate on businesses by forcing them to give paid sick leave to employees. Golden and Herzenberg claim, despite volumes of research and common sense, that the mandate would enable businesses to save money by creating happier workers who are less likely to quit and therefore won't have to be replaced.

That's pretty thin. The National Federation of Independent Business represents more than 14,000 small businesses in Pennsylvania, and its members overwhelmingly believe - based on real experience and not classroom theory - that mandatory paid leave will increase labor costs and make it more difficult to hire new workers.

Most employers in Philadelphia are small businesses, and most of them have fewer than 10 employees. Unlike their corporate cousins, small businesses don't have large labor pools to cover for absent workers. But the work has to be done nevertheless.

What are their options? They can hire a temp. That means paying twice for the same work. They can divide the work between remaining employees, which means lower productivity across the board. Or they can let the work go unfinished, which means falling behind on production, orders or service. All of this increases expenses, reduces profits and risks losing customers.

The authors cited San Francisco, which they say is ranked among the top "cities of opportunity" in the country despite its paid sick-leave ordinance. With all due respect, businesses have been fleeing Philadelphia for years largely because of its heavy-handed mandates. It's hard to take seriously an academic theory that credits paid leave with San Francisco's success. And it's positively silly to predict that Philadelphia's economy would blossom beneath another layer of anti-business policies.

Philadelphia's future depends on entrepreneurship. And it's surrounded by plenty of alternatives in which political leaders are competing with each other to attract new businesses with lower taxes and regulatory reform. Mandatory leave would hand them another advantage, marginalizing Philadelphia as a city that isn't serious about growing jobs or the economy.

Kevin Shivers, State Director

Nat'l. Federation of Independent Business

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Close this Street

Milton Street lost his bid for mayor.

But his brother wants to run for mayor or City Council again. Remember when he said the brothers and sisters were running the city? Now he's accusing Mayor Nutter of not being black enough. Please! We don't need bigots running our city.

Jerry Foglia Sr., Philadelphia