Sick-leave bill finalized
Details of a deal on a bill mandating that businesses offer paid-sick days in New York City are coming into focus on Thursday evening. The bill, which would mandate five paid-sick days to full-time employees, is expected to apply to businesses with 20 or more employees starting on April 1, 2014, and then apply to businesses with 15 or more employees starting on Oct. 1, 2015, two labor sources said. That threshold is far lower than the 50 employees required by a similar mandate in Connecticut. San Francisco requires all businesses operating there to offer paid-sick time. Previous versions of the New York City bill had applied to businesses with more than five employees. "We don't support paid sick leave, period," said Partnership for New York City CEO Kathryn Wylde. The fact that the bill will not kick in for a year was a concession won by New York businesses. The bill is also expected to exempt manufacturing employees, as is also the case in Connecticut. "To the extent that they're going to pass something, obviously we want them to pass the bill that's least damaging to business and the economy," Ms. Wylde said. "Assuming they agree to a bill that is significantly less damaging than what's currently on the table, obviously we'd support that effort. We don't support mandated paid-sick leave by the municipal government." Manhattan Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the bill's main sponsor, said that major details of the bill still had to be worked out. That includes who will enforce the legislation. Business leaders were concerned that the city's Department of Health had been set to enforce the rule, in an earlier version of the bill, but Ms. Brewer said it now would be another city agency, though which was still unclear. Also, Ms. Brewer said details still were to be worked out about a provision in previous legislation allowing employees 18 months to sue employers if they're not paid for sick days. That measure was also strongly opposed by businesses. "I'm very pleased, overall," Ms. Brewer said. "I think it's very good for workers, and very good for businesses at the same time." Whirlwind negotiations took place over the past week between Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 32 BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU and others. The deal could also impact the 2013 mayor's race, removing a major issue that was being used to target Ms. Quinn, especially by one of her opponents, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Although the deal has been struck with Ms. Quinn, the paid-sick leave coalition as a whole must still approve it. It could definitely help Ms. Quinn land 32BJ's endorsement, but it's less clear whether she will get 1199's support. The union had called earlier this week for the legislation to cover businesses with five or more workers. Initial details of the deal were reported by the New York Post . One union leader, UFCW Local 1500 Political Director Patrick Purcell, said he was glad a compromise had been reached. But he also slammed the labor-backed Working Families Party for allegedly politicizing the issue. Although his union is a member of the Working Families Party, Mr. Purcell has accused the staff of the party of aggressively the pushing paid-sick-leave issue to help Mr. de Blasio in the mayor's race while hurting Ms. Quinn, who for three years remained undecided on it. Mr. Purcell's union has endorsed Ms. Quinn. "UFCW Local 1500 is happy to hear a compromise has been reached on the issue of paid-sick days," Mr. Purcell said. "Unfortunately, Local 1500 remains deeply disappointed in and strongly disapproves of the tactics taken by the Working Families Party … and certain members of the coalition over the past few months. There is no question that we will be re-examining our involvement in any future campaigns that include certain organizations that took part in the paid-sick-day coalition."
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