NYC Paid Sick Leave Bill Clears Committee

By Ananda West, Epoch Times
February 26, 2014 Updated: February 26, 2014

NEW YORK—A bill that would require businesses in the five boroughs with as few as five employees to provide paid sick leave unanimously passed out of committee Tuesday.

Introduced by the new City Council on Jan. 22, the amended bill has been fast-tracked through the legislative process. It will be considered by the full council Wednesday, and if passed, will go into effect April 1.

Workers will be able to accrue up to five paid sick days per year, with new employees accruing paid sick time only after 90 calendar days with a company.

The bill significantly broadens the scope of the paid sick leave benefits from a version passed by the previous council. That version staggered implementation for different-sized small businesses, required the economic conditions to be improving, and limited the law to businesses with 15 or more employees. Nonetheless, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the previous bill.

After taking office, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced his version of paid sick leave laws. In his words, the expansion was about “protecting the security of family economies.”

Businesses with 5 to 19 employees gained a six-month grace period from fines for noncompliance with new, extended recordkeeping rules and compliance with the law.

“Although businesses with 20 or more employees will have had nearly a year to understand and prepare for the new law, smaller employers will be blindsided,” warned Victor Wong in testimony to City Council on Feb. 14. Wong is director of business outreach for Partnership for New York City, on behalf of GoBizNYC, which represents 25,000 small businesses in New York City.

There are 175,000 small businesses with fewer than 20 employees in New York City, and nearly half of them are owned by immigrants, according to the Partnership for New York City.