Workplace mandates hinder growth
One of the most pressing issues facing the business community at the 2019 Legislature was the introduction of expansive, expensive workplace mandates on all employers. Businesses are already competing for workers and know what employees want in their specific work environment and industry. If they have to comply with the state system, costs will increase and they will have to change current benefit packages – this could mean decreasing health care options or other flexible benefits that they offer employees.
Our goal is simple: To preserve the right of private employers to develop wage and benefit packages that fit the distinct needs of companies and employees.
Of the proposed mandates this session, the most onerous was a 24-week paid leave program, paid for by a new $2 billion tax on employers and employees. That means an employee could miss up to 44% of an entire work year.
We heard from real businesses who simply could not afford to run their business if these mandates were passed into law. One owner even said, “My small business is very flexible around our 16 employees' personal lives. [Mandated paid family and medical leave] will force us to take that privilege away because of the cost it will burden us with. We may have to move to a new state if this mandate passes.” This shows the real-world consequences decisions at the Capitol have on businesses throughout the state.
How do these one-size-fits-all proposals hurt small businesses in the state? See what Alyza Bohbot, owner of City Girl Coffee and Alakef Coffee Roasters, says about how mandates would eliminate the benefits that she tailors to each individual employee.
But it wasn’t just the business community that saw an issue with these proposals. A survey of everyday Minnesotans showed that 55% of the state opposed placing these mandates on businesses.
We were able to hold the line on many of these proposed expansive mandates including:
Preventing a 24-week paid leave program funded with new 0.6% payroll tax
Blocking mandated paid sick and safe time
Protecting employers who inadvertently find themselves in violation of certain wage laws from being charged with criminal penalties
We will likely continue to see these proposals debated at the Capitol and will work to help employers preserve the right of private employers to develop wage and benefit packages that fit the distinct needs of companies and employees.