COMMENTARY | Mike Huckabee says small businesses are blaming Obamacare and Hurricane Sandy for why the flu epidemic cannot be combated by forcing small businesses to offer paid sick leave. Mike Huckabee seems to believe the flu epidemic is just a fact of life and that there’s no one to blame.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, small businesses seem to be on the ropes lately, with America seeing the slow death of entrepreneurship. According to NBC, the particularly bad flu season this winter has fueled debate over public safety measures and paid sick leave laws. Over on Facebook, Mike Huckabee chimed in on this issue:
“Somehow, these days, everything can be turned into a partisan political issue, even the flu virus. This year’s flu is an especially bad strain. It’s made a lot of people more aware than ever of the need to stay home from work if they get sick and not spread it around. On the other hand, these days, a lot of people work as independent contractors instead of employees, so they don’t get sick leave, and they can’t afford to miss work. And that’s how the flu virus has sparked a political battle in the Northeast. Liberal activists and unions are pushing for a new law in New York, requiring all businesses with more than five employees to offer five days of paid sick leave. But owners of restaurants and other small businesses say that between high taxes, Obamacare and Hurricane Sandy, they’re in ‘survival mode’ and can’t afford to pay people not to come in to work. It’s led to a lot of arguments, name-calling and finger-pointing. It’s too bad people can’t all agree that some things in life are just bad, they’re nobody’s fault, and there is no easy cure. And you’d hope they could at least agree that one of those things is the flu.”
Quite frankly, while I can see the argument that small businesses can ill-afford the extra expense of the 5 day paid sick leave, on the other hand isolation is probably the most effective tool for combating the flu epidemic. If a sick person is not exposed to other people, then the virus cannot spread. But many employers, even in the food industry, force their sick part-time employees to work which just spreads the flu further.
Another point is that nowadays if an employee gets sick they are required to turn in a doctor’s note proving that they were indeed sick. So in addition to the employee losing work days, and thus losing much needed pay, the employee also has to pay for the doctor’s visit. This puts an almost unfair burden on the employee because of the flu epidemic.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, one in three Americans do not have paid sick leaves, which just spreads the disease further. A middle ground solution might be for the state governments to subsidize this paid sick leave law, giving no reason for small businesses to fear. It is true that more government spending at a time when the national debt ceiling is drawing near is probably not the best option. But these costs may be offset by the effect on nationwide employee productivity if the flu virus’ influence were to noticeably wane. After all, more productivity means more money which equals more taxes. At the very least a government study could try and determine whether or not this a public health issue worth addressing that can also be cost effective.
What do you think about Mike Huckabee’s comments on the paid sick leave laws and small businesses pinning the blame on the cost of Obamacare?