Sick bills
Massachusetts is considering a bill that would require all companies to offer 12 weeks of medical or family leave to employees.
By Ian Mount, FSB contributor

(FSB Magazine) -- When Frank Muscato's mother died, he took off all of two days - to attend the funeral - and then went back to work as an employee at a small medical-equipment broker.

Now Muscato owns his own firm, Mayflower Equipment in Carver, Mass., and is even warier of the risks a small business faces when an employee takes off a large chunk of time to care for a sick relative. "Big companies can cover someone on leave because they have people in the bullpen," he says. "Small businesses don't have that."

Too bad his home state may not agree. Massachusetts is weighing a bill that would require companies of all sizes to allow 12 weeks of family or medical leave.

In Citizens Bank's recent Small Business Pulse Survey, the bank found that 38 percent of the Massachusetts small businesses that knew about the legislation said it would stunt spending increases, and 40 percent said it would slow down hiring. Other states will be watching the Massachusetts deliberations; it's one of eight states considering similar bills.

Do you agree with a bill like the one Massachusetts is weighing? Do you feel that sick leave should be up to the discretion of the employer? Are you concerned a law like this could hurt your business? Tell us about it.


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