Simkins Says has lain fallow for some months, but California Senate Bill 432 has moved me to turn the soil and plant something. You may have heard of this proposed legislation that would require fitted sheets in all “transient lodgings” in California. Its aim is to reduce workplace injuries suffered by hotel maids. I am all in favor of workplaces being safe places, but I have a few issues with this bill.
First, it really does seem the epitome of micromanagement. The State Legislature should be setting policy, not mandating what kind of sheets hotels use.
Second, is it really any easier to change the sheets when you’re using fitted sheets? Did Frederick Taylor do some classic studies on this I missed? In my own personal experience, putting the fitted sheet on my bed is sometimes the hardest part. Once I’ve washed my sheets a couple times, they often shrink a bit. After I get the fitted sheet hooked over three corners, I have to heave up the fourth corner of the mattress and struggle to stretch the sheet over it. The top sheet, on the other hand, just flops out on top. A couple shakes, a pull here or there, and it’s in place. I still have to get down on my knees to tuck it in. If anything, learning about SB 432 is making me rethink the use of fitted sheets. I’ve just always taken them for granted. Now I’m thinking, maybe I’m a fool. Maybe it would be easier to use two flat sheets. When I’m groveling about to tuck in the top sheet and blanket, I could tuck in the bottom sheet at the same time.
Third, and related to the second, has anyone asked the maids what they think?
State Senator Kevin DeLeon introduced this bill, and I have read it is “close to his heart.” I’m sure his heart is in the right place, but state law is the wrong place for a “fitted sheets mandate.”