The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce recently said they oppose Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “Working Families Working Group” recommendations regarding employer-funded paid sick leave.
“Businesses are at a tipping point and these proposals will only exacerbate the problems facing employees looking for more hours and higher wages," IRMA President and CEO Rob Karr said. "We cannot provide the jobs, pay the wages and invest in local communities while City Hall layers on one cost after another and chases sales out of the city. These policies will not result in more jobs being created or higher wages - just the opposite. City Hall needs to remember that the overwhelming majority of Chicago’s business owners are working families too.”
IRMA and the Chicagoland chamber said a Chicago-only paid sick leave mandate will cause employers to increase prices while decreasing employee benefits and hours. It could also lead to labor cuts and limited business expansion, among other issues.
“Young people looking for first jobs to gain valuable experience in the workforce are some of the unintended casualties of these types of unaffordable mandates," Chicagoland Chamber President and CEO Theresa Mintle said. "Teen unemployment will absolutely worsen when employers have fewer dollars to budget for salaries. UIC’s Great Cities Institute published a recent report detailing extraordinarily high levels of unemployment in minority communities: 88 percent of African-Americans and 85 percent of Latinos ages 16-19 years old were jobless in 2014. Arbitrary regulations imposed on businesses are one of the causes for this lack of opportunity.”
IRMA and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce have released their own findings in a report titled “The Dissent: The Business Perspective on the Effects of Another Mandate on Employers.” The report states the cumulative effect of 14 months of government mandates will not help increase employment and it continues to weaken Chicago’s economic future.