Local business owner says offering paid time off will force him to close up shop

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PARKVILLE, Mo. — The President’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night, was expected to call for increased taxes on the wealthy; making community college free and expanding paid leave for workers.

And that paid leave proposal, which would require employers to provide paid sick days and family leave, faces an uphill battle in a republican controlled House and Senate.

Critics say it could stunt job growth, and one local business owner who says he’d be forced to close his business.

President Obama’s push for paid sick days and paid family leave will certainly benefit employees, but it could be detrimental to employers like Glen’s Automotive in Parkville.

Glen McKahan, 64, has owned his automotive business for 33 years. McKahan says he has six full-time employees and one part-timer.

He says it’s hard enough providing two weeks’ vacation, medical and dental and paid holidays like memorial and Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

McKahan says he can’t imagine being forced to offer up to seven paid sick days a year per full-time employee.

“It’s my name on the front of the place and I didn’t go in business to have somebody else tell me how to do my business,” he said.

James Pasley, a political science professor at Park University, says paid time off has touched a nerve with a large section of the American public.

“There is a cost to all this, small business owners I think are going to push back actively contacting representatives in the House and the Senate controlled by republicans to try to undercut what the president is attempting to do,” said Pasley.

While the measure is viewed as a disadvantage to the business sector, analysts say it will allow people who are sick to be paid for their sick time.

McKahan says if the measure becomes law he’ll be forced to close his business, a business he’s owned since 1982.

“I’m at the age right now where I will go ahead retire now,” said McKahan.

McKahan says he’ll be glued to the tube Tuesday night to hear what the President has to say.

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