BY HEATHER J. CHIN AND TERENCE M. CULLEN
Small businesses with 15 or more employees and 20 or more employees will soon be mandated to provide five paid sick days, after a compromise on the much-debated legislation was struck last night, March 28.
The bill is expected to pass in City Council with enough support to override a threatened veto by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has opposed the Paid Sick Leave bill for the last three years.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn — a frontrunner in the race to replace Bloomberg as mayor — helped broker the deal on the bill, and celebrated her victory at a press conference at City Hall on Friday, joined by union leaders, advocates and city lawmakers.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz expressed his support for the bill, calling it “a compromise that cares for the needs of both employees and small businesses.”
The bill provides for up to five salaried sick days for employees who have been with the company for at least four months, and ensures that they not be in danger of losing their job for taking those days off. If passed around one million New Yorkers will be affected.
Seasonal workers and work study students are excluded from the bill.
“This legislation in no way impacts small businesses — such as mom-and-pop stores with less than 20 employees — that could not otherwise afford to compensate their employees with sick pay,” insisted Carlo Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in a statement.
“In addition, we agree that the Department of Consumer Affairs enforce the bill and that it is to be phased in over time. Another victory is that we fought to move enforcement from the Department of Health to Consumer Affairs.”
Businesses with at least 20 employees will see the bill take effect on April 1, 2014; businesses with at least 15 employees will be covered beginning on October 1, 2015.