Orange County Commissioners consider 2 sick-time pay referendums

Voters could be asked to mandate sick-pay, outlaw referendum on same ballot

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County commissioners are considering a referendum, brought forward by a 50,000 signature petition, that would mandate sick-time pay for businesses in Orange County.

But commissioners may also consider adding a competing referendum to the November ballot that would outlaw the sick pay mandate.

Commissioners are hearing both measures at a meeting Tuesday, in which more than 100 people gathered, spilling over into the lobby of the chamber to watch the meeting on TVs.

The sick-time pay measure could be put on the ballot for November elections, but some commissioners are pushing for a second ballot item that would override mandatory sick-pay. If both items are approved for the November ballot, Orange County voters could be asked to approve a measure brought up by a group of activists mandating sick pay. In another column, voters would be asked to outlaw certain types of referendums such as the one mandating sick-pay.

Under the original referendum, voters will be asked whether companies with more than 15 employees should be required to pay sick time. More than 50,000 workers signed a petition to get the measure brought before voters.

"We're humans, not machines and when we get sick we should have the right to recover," said Mike Hankins, a sick-pay supporter.

Orange County commissioner Jennifer Thompson has introduced her own completing measure that, if approved by voters, would block referendums that regulate worker benefits, including mandatory sick pay.

Opponents say the sick pay requirement will hurt employers and could ultimately reduce the number of jobs available. Officials said Orange County would be the only government in Florida with such a mandate putting it at a competitive disadvantage.

Opponents also said the wording of the sick-pay referendum is misleading to voters and makes the measure sound more beneficial than they believe it really is.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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