Letter to the Editor: I Don’t Support “Sick Paid Leave” and that Doesn’t Make Me a Terrible Boss


A good boss takes care of a good employee. See the word “good” in front of each title? For over 41 years my family business has employed hundreds of neighborhood people. During that time we have cosigned car loans, lent money, given cash bonuses, given earned pay raises, free food, the countless free beers, time off when needed, understood when an emergency happens, allowed an employee’s child to “hang out” until child care arrived, given out gift cards as thanks, allowed my own car to be used when a driver’s was in the shop, and even had an employee and his children stay at my home for over a month while leaving an abusive relationship. I work alongside my employees. I’m not in an office, I don’t stop by and check in.

I knew what I was getting into when I bought the business. My last day off was over three years ago (for surgery). My last car was 13 years old. When I’m not in the restaurant I’m doing errands for the business, doing never ending bookwork, and fielding text messages about issues that come up when I’m not there. Again, I knew what I was getting into when I bought the business. I believe most people that work in the restaurant world know what they are getting into also. Most employees can make their own schedules, can swap shifts when needed, and get time off. We expect our employees to get their shifts covered and help each other out. Upon hiring they are told that we understand when people get sick but we expect some common sense. Feeling sick the night before? Call fellow employees and get stuff traded. I don’t have patience for an employee that complains about not feeling well when their Facebook page shows them out all night. Make choices in your personal life that won’t interfere with your work life, instead of the other way around. I understand not all people are like that and there are those with sick kids, but in all the years we have been around, those people are in the minority.

I have staff that CHOOSE to only work a couple days a week, am I really responsible to make sure they have paid time off? My employees go on vacation, take days off, go out to dinner, etc., without me having to supplement their income. I also offer Aflac where they can purchase “emergency” insurance for less than a pitcher of beer (only 1 of 17 employees chooses to do so). I am a good boss, I know I treat my employees more than fair. Some public comments that are for “Sick Paid Leave” say that we can’t run the business without employees and should treat them better. Do they think we don’t know that? But, are they remembering that the employees need us also? They need us taking all the risk, putting our names on the dotted line, and not being able to be a “no call no show.”  A good boss takes care of a good employee.

I can’t afford to pay someone that isn’t there. On average, this would cost me over $600.00 per month. Margins are tight in this business and right now I run at 34% labor cost. National average is 30-35%. If I’m forced to pay Sick Time, not only does labor go up, but payroll taxes do also. The government wants more out of my already nearly empty pockets and into theirs. Minneapolis, come up with a better plan that doesn’t hurt small businesses so much! More should be expected of the employee, not the employer. Raise the number of employees you must have, raise the amount of hours the employee must work to even qualify for this, and get rid of the employer having to keep a tally (this isn’t your preschool star chart, keep your stubs!).

I am a good boss and I don’t need the City of Minneapolis trying to tell me how to be a better one.

(Don’t even get me started on the proposed $15.00 minimum wage.)

Patty Keegan
Jakeeno’s Pizza & Pasta

5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107 • Edina, MN 55436
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