A Law Banning Flat Bed Sheets Shouldn't Really Be California's Priority Right Now

Jenny Erikson

bed sheetsCalifornia is just about bankrupt, which must mean that it’s time to pass a law outlawing flat sheets and short-handled feather dusters in hotels across the state. 


This year alone, the Golden State will spend about $25 billion more than the $82 billion it expects to take in from taxes and fees. We have big problems in California, but instead of tackling issues that actually matter, the legislature has introduced a bill to ban flat sheets at the Hotel California.

Supporters of the bill argue it will reduce worker injuries by eliminating the need for workers to repetitively lift extremely heavy mattresses when making beds. They contend that flat sheets cause workers to strain their backs, shoulders and wrists, and are often responsible for repetitive motion injuries. 

State Bill 432, sponsored by Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), also calls for the use of long-handled tools like mops and dusters so housekeepers do not have to get down on their hands and knees to clean bathroom floors.

The California Hotel and Lodging Association estimate that the switch would add $30 to $50 million in costs to already tight budgets. Spokesman Randi Knotts also adds that hotels already offer long-handled mops and brooms to their cleaning staffs, but that they aren’t used. 

The government has no right to micromanage business. Hotels use flat sheets because they are cheaper, last longer, and are easier to launder, iron and store than fitted sheets with elastic. If tucking in sheets is too difficult a task for an employee whose job description includes tucking in sheets, they might be better suited finding employment elsewhere. With the unemployment rate in California hovering at over 12%, I’m sure someone would jump at the chance to earn an honest paycheck at an entry-level job. 

The legislature has some serious work to do to get our financial house in order. Insisting that businesses raise prices to cover costs of newly mandated fitted sheets and creating a new Department of Sheet Enforcement to make sure hotels comply with the rule is not how to do it. The bureaucrats in Sacramento should concentrate on enticing businesses to grow and expand and create jobs in California, not how to protect the housekeeping staff from tucking in sheets.


Image via basheertome/Flickr


Read More