Today, NFIB Research Foundation released a study that shows the paid sick leave mandate proposed in AB 2716 by Assembly Member Fiona Ma would result in the loss of 370,000 California jobs over the next five years. AB 2716 will force all employers to provide paid sick leave for all employees regardless of whether or not employers can afford to pay for it.

How much will paid sick leave cost California businesses? According to the Research Foundation study, $4.6 billion and will disproportionately affect small businesses in California. What is worse is that these businesses will have less money to pay for the mandated benefit as the new law would cost California firms an estimated $59.3 billion in sales over the first five years of enactment, and more than half of that will be losses to small businesses.

One question comes to mind: Is this really the time to pile additional mandates on the job creators of California? The Legislature is currently trying to find a solution to California’s massive deficit – at last count, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $16 or $17 billion. Now is the time our leaders should be looking at ways to stimulate the growth of small businesses in California by allowing them to do what they do best – create jobs and employ people in the communities where they live.

Small business owners think of their employees as extended family and strive to provide the best wages and benefits that they can afford. If they are forced to provide paid sick leave to their employees, the reality is they’ll very likely have to make cuts elsewhere – perhaps cutting back hours, reducing other benefits, or laying people off , .

Small businesses thrive best when they are allowed to work with their employees to come up with solutions that work for everyone. Many small business owners allow their employees to make up their hours when they are ill or very often they simply work the hours themselves so they don’t place additional burdens on other staff. By mandating paid sick leave, you take away the flexibility that small businesses need to be successful.

AB 2716 is an ill-conceived policy that will have the opposite effect on the very people the bill’s author and sponsors intend to help – working Californians. We are hopeful that the Senate Labor Committee will vote down AB 2716 tomorrow when they meet. California small businesses simply can’t afford another costly mandate.