Is Paid Sick-Leave Unhealthy for Business?


The New York City Council has approved a bill that will require small businesses with 20 or more employees to offer sick-leave days. The legislation, set to take effect April 1, 2014, comes after several years of opposition, as some business leaders and politicians argue that such a measure is a potential threat to business.

Nearly 1 million employees that do not currently receive sick-leave will be eligible for unpaid sick-leave through the final bill, which has been met with criticism. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to veto the law and claims that the measure is a “short-sighted economic policy,” Bloomberg News reported. Other business leaders contend that it restricts job creation due to costs to employers, and are concerned about the economic impact.

Yet Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, a mayoral candidate who formerly opposed the bill, says that there are enough votes to override a veto.

“This legislation fully recognizes the importance of protecting the city’s economy and locks in protections to ensure that its implementation is pegged to continued recovery,” Quinn said, according to Crain’s Insider.

Supporters of the measure hope that other states will follow New York’s lead and eventually have a nationwide policy. Sick-time law measures have already been approved in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, Milwaukee, and CT, and will go into effect by 2014 in Portland, Ore.

Inside the Bill

Once the mandate is in place on April 1, 2014, businesses with 20 or more on staff will be required to give five sick-leave days to employees. In October 2015, the mandate will apply to smaller businesses with at least 15 or more employees.

The measure also requires that full-time and part-time employees must be on the payroll for least four months to receive leave time. Students and seasonal workers are exempt from the law. The smallest businesses, including manufacturing firms, are also excluded under the measure, Quinn announced.

What do you think of the legislation? Will it help or hurt small business?


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