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Paid Sick Leave Bill Likely To See Vote Next Week

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After three years of waiting and debating, Councilwoman Gale Brewer said the controversial paid sick days bill could go to a vote as early as next week.

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"April 25 -- that's the goal," Brewer said this afternoon. She said the language was still being finalized, but was confident it would go to a vote sooner rather than later.

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The bill, Intro 0097, would be introduced through the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, which will convene the day before the bill heads to the Council's floor. It already has several cosponsors, including Speaker Christine Quinn, who held back a vote on the measure since Brewer first introduced the bill in 2010.

Quinn came under pressure in recent months as supporters of paid sick leave -- including unions and fellow mayoral candidates, most notably Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson -- demanded that the bill go to a vote. Quinn had long held that she didn't oppose the spirit of the bill, rather that the city's economy was too fragile to expect small business to offer paid sick leave to their employees.

However, despite initial opposition from chambers of commerce from all five boroughs and various business leaders, Quinn was able to draw up a compromise version of the bill that would not got into effect until next year, and only if it meets a minimum measure of a financial index released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The bill will reportedly provide five sick days to all business with 20 or more employees, eventually expanding it to those with 15 or more.

Under the new law, all employees -- regardless of the business' size -- are also protected from being fired and can file violations with the city's Department of Consumer Affairs. Employers who are exempt from paid sick days must still offer workers at least five unpaid sick days a year.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already promised to veto the bill, which Quinn similarly promised to override.

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Photo by William Alatriste.

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Guest Wednesday, 19 March 2014