This article, called “Survey: Half of Food Workers Go to Work Sick Because They Have To“, is an example of “good intentions” that ultimately hurt the minority small business owners and consolidate power to the crony-capitalists. Immigrants & minorities just can’t catch a break from this constant anti-business attack from Progressives. Combined with $15/hour minimum wage, this constant pounding away at coerced employee benefits will keep increasing the 60% failure rate within the first three years of a restaurant opening.
In 7 of 10 restaurants, entrepreneurs work alongside the rest of their staff. At least in Southern California, there are countless minority owned businesses where the owners themselves have limited English speaking ability. In fact, when I shop at Restaurant Depot for hotel breakfast supplies, the vast majority are minorities shopping for their mom-and-pop restaurants. This hardly fits the typical crony-capitalist corporations Progressives love to target as the “bad guys.” I thought Progressives were in support for minority rights?
Progressives care nothing about making it easier for minorities to start their own businesses and exit poverty. Through their zeal to ultimately crush any forms of employer-employee volunteerism, they blindingly shrink opportunities for minorities to be stuck working hourly wages in large corporations that will end up gaining market share. Of all industries, restaurants DEFINE upward mobility for minorities:
♦ Nine in 10: Restaurant managers who started at entry level.
♦ Eight in 10: Restaurant owners who started their industry careers in entry-level positions.
For further discussion on this “fringe benefit” push: http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-471-whats-wrong-with-bernie-sanders-demand-for-more-fringe-benefits-for-workers/
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
The main issue of concern is the norovirus.
If you spend an average $2,668 per year at restaurants, your current chance of getting norovirus is roughly 5.27% per year. This statistically comes to one incident every 19 years. So does the frequency match the magnitude to target the rights of minorities for this “public health” concern?
[Horrible Butchering of Stats: $709.2 billion in annual dining sales, 20 million norovirus cases, 70% from food workers. For now, we’re not going to question how the CDC got the 20 million figure despite the fact that only 56,000 actually are hospitalized. Someone smarter than me can explain how the estimates are made.]
If this is such a huge “public health” concern that is of ACTUAL concern of customers getting sick left and right, you’d see businesses advertising that they offer “paid sick leave” for their employees in order to obtain a competitive advantage. But since we don’t see this, perhaps one could believe that this is not real a concern to most people and this is MANUFACTURED fear in order to support an underlying agenda.
I suspect the frequency is of low enough amount that people consider “food poisoning” an accepted risk as it currently stands. This can hardly be considered an urgent “public health” issue requiring stripping rights away from minorities.
Obviously, it’s a very difficult task to link the source of illness and obtain the frequency of which customers are contracting diseases from contagious employees who come into work due to lack of “paid sick leave.” But without acknowledging this fact, the author attempts to make the implied link anyway.
EFFECTIVENESS OF LEGISLATION
Let’s put aside the real life magnitude of this problem and see if we can figure out a solution. Now the norovirus is a nasty little bugger since it remains contagious not only while symptoms exist, but “also during the first few days after you recover from norovirus illness.” So some questions:
QUESTION 1: How many food workers still come into work while having severe diarrhea and vomiting?
QUESTION 2: How many food workers wait more than “a few days after” recovery while still contagious?
“Being sick” as asked in the survey does not answer question #1. I’d imagine that while the symptoms exist it’s most contagious? Would it even be possible to hide the symptoms? From my experience with “food illness,” I’m not seeing the frequent possibility that an employee could have the energy or motivation to work essentially being glued to the toilet and laying prostate in between bouts of fluid expulsion. Also, it would seem that as a supervisor / employer, if one sees an employee symptomatic (AKA running to the bathroom frequently to both vomit and diarrhea, shivering, and pale skin) would probably send the employee immediately home. Heck, if I was employed and saw a co-worker symptomatic, I would report it to my supervisor. I wouldn’t want to get sick either!
So if we deduce that it’s not while the symptoms are strongest in which employees are coming to work while infected with norovirus, then it must be by some other means, which relates to question #2.
If norovirus is still contagious for a few days after recovery, it would seem to make sense that this is where the predominant spreading occurs. If an employee correctly determines they were extremely sick, they will go to work as soon as their symptoms become manageable to perform the duties of their job. This is where I believe the norovirus starts spreading, and at which point I’m not sure if even any major sick leave program could be effective.
In the State of California, due to the “Sick Leave Law” penalizing any sort of reprisal, the law essentially acts as mandated “paid time off.” As employers, we don’t want to risk the liability of demanding a doctor’s note and later getting in trouble from the State Agency. So we essentially consider the sick time on the “honor” system which will ultimately turn into “paid time off” in practice.
So in order to cover the 1 to 3 days of the illness getting better, we’ll need to tack on about 2 more days to avoid any contagion. So we’re essentially needing to mandate at least 5 days per year. We can assume there will be some “fudging” for employees to use “sick” days as “paid time off”, and that other kinds of sickness may occur throughout the year. It can be determined that any pre-measured sick time will be used up only for days in which the sickness is symptomatic. In other words, if you set sick time at 5 days per year, then if an employee uses 2 days for another sickness, then even with 3 days off with the norovirus, they still have 2 days of being contagious. This doesn’t solve the problem.
At what point is too much “sick”time offered? Perhaps two weeks? But if it ends up being on the “honor” system, essentially we’re requiring employers to provide paid vacation time. Certainly, we can expect a certain amount of “padding” of paid sick time if provided enough. And if employees “maximize” the padding for whatever “sickness” they feel, then in the interest of maximizing their “sick time” employees will attempt to come to work as soon as symptoms subside, which, if done in the case of norovirus, will not solve the contagious problem.
So then, we must now mandate that all employees, after being sick with diarrhea and vomiting, must wait at least two days after ending the symptoms to stay in self-quarantine until the contagious period is safely over. But, by what enforcement mechanism can we enforce this? Are the Employers now to become a the Police attempting to discover every symptom of an employee? Will personal medical records now become privy to the eyes of the Employer; privacy be damned? Will the State now punish Employers for allowing their employees to come back to work sooner than two days of which the Employee declares their symptoms to be over? Yet at the same time punishing employers for alleged reprisals of these very same employees restricted from coming back to work while allegedly contagious for which symptoms may or may not be disclosed?
Oh my. Laws, beget laws, beget laws, into continuum. All upon the backs of the minority entrepreneurs that already have a difficult time keeping their businesses profitable in today’s already complicated regulatory environment.
Never mind the small magnitude of the norovirus, the non-effectiveness of paid-sick time in actually preventing the spread of the norovirus, or the endless laws burdening the minority business owner in the guise of stopping this “public health” menace; the State works for the betterment of all at the expense of the few!
Above was the pragmatic reasons why “paid sick time” to combat norovirus is nonsense. On a principled stance, I see this as being a little more difficult to determine. Certainly, deliberately coughing into someone’s face while contagious should be considered initiation of aggression. But what about going to work while contagious?
It would seem that a customer who does get sick of norovirus from eating at a restaurant would have a very difficult time of tracing its origins. And even if traced without reasonable doubt, it seems to be irrational that a customer would then be able to morally justify recompense for lost wages of missed productive time.
I consider the numerous times I received a cold or flu while in school. It would seem inhumane for me to subsequently hold a gun to each sick student and tell them to evacuate the premises, “for my safety.” Or even if it were at work, I do not have the right to coerce co-workers to go home. Only the Employer can do so.
The magnitude of the risk, contagious factor, and severity of the contagion in question I believe makes this more of a pragmatic, rather than a principled question.
For more discussion: https://mises.ca/posts/blog/the-ethics-of-disease-control/
RESTAURANT STATISTICS: http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/Facts-at-a-Glance
NOROVIRUS HEALTH FACTS: http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/symptoms.html