That sentiment is best summed up in the tweet from the Washington Examiner's Philip Klein below -- if you want a fully fleshed out version of the argument, see this piece from the Heritage Foundation's labor policy analyst James Sherk.
Forced paid leave is essentially a mandate on workers to accept compensation in the form of sick leave rather than cash wages.— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) January 21, 2015
But as it turns out, there's nothing "forced" about that proposition at all. A 2014 survey of 4,507 Americans by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 81 percent support paid sick leave legislation of the type Obama is proposing. The survey found majority support across all demographic and political groups, with even 70 percent of Republicans supporting such a law.
More to the point, a 2010 survey of 1,461 Americans conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago asked respondents how they felt about paid sick time, and then presented them with a battery of arguments for and against such legislation.
The "con" arguments included "If employers are forced to increase costs by providing for paid sick days, they will cut other costs by reducing wages or benefits like health care coverage" and "A one-size-fits-all, paid sick leave mandate from the government would threaten workers' wages and benefits. Government mandated benefits that increase business costs would have to be made up by cuts in wages or benefits."
But after hearing these arguments, respondents' views on sick leave legislation were unchanged -- 75 percent supported mandatory sick time before hearing the arguments, while 74 percent supported it afterward. Even more telling, respondents rated the appeals about lower wages among the least compelling of the con arguments.
So, let's take sick leave's detractors at their word: If it really comes down to a choice between paid sick time and higher wages, Americans overwhelmingly choose the sick time. So why not give them that choice?