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NYC officials oppose paid sick leave bill

Bill would force many restaurateurs to grant employees up to nine paid sick days

The New York State Restaurant Association applauded New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for opposing the city’s pending paid sick leave bill.

Quinn said Thursday she opposed the bill because of its potential to hurt small business. Bloomberg has come out against the measure as well.

“We are grateful to both Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn, who recognize that in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, it is not the time to place new financial burdens on small businesses,” said Andrew Rigie, NYRSA’s director of operations.

The bill would require all New York City businesses with more than 10 workers to provide up to nine paid sick days for every employee, whether they work full- or part-time. Any business owner that does not adhere to the regulation would face a $1,000 fine per violation, the bill proposes.

Local restaurateurs have objected to the bill, saying it would, if passed, create undue hardship.

“As a restaurateur in New York City for the past 46 years, I cannot possibly sustain this new mandate without hurting my employees,” said Mike O’Neal, owner-operator of the 79th Street Boat Basin restaurant in Manhattan. “Reduction of hours and layoffs would surely result, and this is definitely not a policy that advocates for the backbone of my business.”

The restaurant association said it would continue to work with the business community and local politicians to come up with a fair alternative to ensure that workers can take off when they or a loved one is sick without employer retribution.

However, Robert Bookman, NYSRA’s legislative counsel, said the currently proposed legislation “is the wrong bill with the wrong approach at the wrong time. If you want to move forward, reconsider the implications of this bill and find another way to protect employees wrongfully fired.”

Contact Elissa Elan at ee[email protected].

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