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Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Democratic candidate for mayor, hammered out a deal to move forward legislation that would require many businesses to give paid sick leave to their employees. She made the announcement Friday with supporters and leaders of local chambers of commerce. Quinn had refused to bring the bill to a floor vote for two years. But as the campaign to get the bill passed dovetailed with the mayoral race and a possible revolt from fellow Council members, she met with elected officials, union leaders and supporters of the bill to negotiate a deal.
The result was a seemingly more business-friendly bill that includes a provision that would delay the implementation of the bill if the economy worsens by the time it goes into effect in April 2014. Though acknowledging the effort to address concerns with the bill, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would veto it anyway. Quinn has said she has the votes to override him.
The New York Times' Editorial Board called the deal "good news, although it will take at least a year for most employees to enjoy a basic benefit widely available elsewhere." The New York Post wrote: "The best way to improve life for city workers is not by imposing politically motivated diktats on employers. It’s by giving business the freedom it needs to create a dynamic, expanding economy."
Last night, Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the prime sponsor of the sick leave bill, sent out an email thanking the speaker. She also disclosed the following "outline" of the bill:
• Businesses with 20 or more workers will have to provide five paid sick days beginning April 1, 2014.
• Businesses with 15 or more workers will have to do the same beginning Oct. 1, 2015.
• Workers would have to be on the job for at least four months to take advantage of sick leave.
• The Department of Consumer Affairs is the lead enforcement agency.
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