NEW YORK — On June 27, the New York City Council overruled a veto by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to pass a law that requires businesses to compensate workers for sick leave. The bill, which the council approved by a 47-4 vote, forces businesses with at least 20 employees to offer five days of paid sick leave by next year, with businesses with at least 15 employees following in 2015. The bill is expected to cover almost one million workers.
Just days after New York City passed the bill in question,businesses throughout the city have begun announcing their plans to leave, citing the financial ramifications of the new law. From banks, to restaurants, to media conglomerates, companies have been deciding that the paid sick leave law will impede their continued ability to survive and profit in the five boroughs. Glenn Daniels, a spokesman from New York City’s Chamber of Commerce, explained the situation: “Paid sick leave is the last straw. Everyone from cherished New York institutions to the small businesses residents rely on are already subject to crippling rules and regulations in the city. Paying an employee’s salary for two days while they recover from having their appendix removed is simply a bridge too far.” Hundreds of storefronts throughout Manhattan have already been abandoned as business race to exit the city before the regulations are in place.
The new law is affecting businesses at all levels, big and small. Middle Village 11-year old Tommy Erickson, who runs a local lemonade stand, decried the new law, “I can’t afford to pay my five- and seven-year-old brothers a living wage when they want handouts every time they have a tummy ache. I’m not sure when New York became a socialist paradise.” Bensonhurst dog walker Randi Alvarez agreed: “All of America has dogs that need walking. Paying for my assistant Jenny’s leave when she gets the flu every third year will wipe out any money I actually make.”
Mayor Bloomberg reacted quickly to the business community with a workaround to the new rules which were passed against his wishes, saying, “While the city council may have passed this bill over my veto, I’m issuing a mayoral directive which allows employers the ability to determine whether workers are actually sick.” Thus, continued Bloomberg, “I can’t tell businesses what their standard should be, but if they wanted to choose to not consider an employee sick unless he or she has a disease featured on an episode of House that would be well within their prerogative.”