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City Hall
New York, NY 10007
                                                                                                                                                                            (212) 788-7116
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**                                                                                                             
March 28, 2013
Contact: (212) 788-7116
Release #: 047-2013



Responsible Legislation Enacts Important Policy While Protecting Vital Economy and Small Businesses

New York, NY – After extensive negotiations, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today successfully reached an agreement on a proposal for paid sick leave for New York City workers. The agreement is groundbreaking in both its expansion of protections to workers and responsible balanced approach to protecting small businesses. The bill guarantees that no New Yorker will face the threat of losing their livelihood for taking a day off work because they are sick and it mandates paid sick time be provided by employers with more than 15 employees. The bill fully recognizes the importance of protecting New York City’s economy and provides protections to ensure that its implementation is pegged to continued recovery. The Paid Sick Leave Coalition, 32BJ, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, A Better Balance, RWDSU and Council Members participated in today’s press conference announcing the deal.

Under the agreement, all New Yorkers will receive full protections that will allow them to take time to care for themselves and their families when ill, without fear or threat of losing their job. This bill will provide paid sick time to nearly one million New Yorkers. 

Specifically, the bill will require businesses with 20 or more employees to provide five paid sick days to their employees beginning April 1st 2014. The mandate will extend to businesses with 15 or more employees on October 1st 2015. The Department of Consumer Affairs will be responsible for enforcement of the bill. Complaints must be filed to the enforcement agency and the private right of action is only allowed to contest the agency’s decision. 

“We have a good, strong, and sensible piece of legislation that recognizes the needs of every day New Yorkers and the realities that our struggling small businesses face. Throughout these negotiations I have always said that I was willing to listen and engage all sides. Because of deliberate, thoughtful, and at times hard-nosed negotiations, we now have a piece of legislation that balances the interests of workers, small business owners, and local mom and pop proprietors across this City,” said Speaker Quinn. “I want to extend deep appreciation to my council colleagues, Council Member Gale Brewer, The Paid Sick Days Coalition and especially Hector Figueroa of SEIU 32BJ for coming together on this important bill.”

“After 3 years of non-stop advocacy and coalition building, I am pleased and grateful that we have reached a deal with Speaker Christine C. Quinn on my paid sick leave bill, Intro 97-A. I am honored to be member of the City Council that addressed this issue, and I thank all of my Council colleagues who supported the legislation. Nearly one million New Yorkers will now have the fundamental right to take a paid day off when they or a family member is ill, and no worker will be fired if they must stay home. I want to thank the Speaker for working with me and all of the advocates and members of the coalition on this groundbreaking legislation. It is a tremendous accomplishment of which all fair-minded New Yorkers can be proud,” said Council Member Gale Brewer.

The legislation also includes vital protections for the City’s economy, including a reverse trigger that will ensure the mandate is only enacted if the economy can sustain it. If the economy unexpectedly worsens, the bill will be delayed from taking effect until conditions improve. Additionally, an effective date one year in the future will provide businesses time to plan and also allow further economic recovery to take root.

The Speaker took special consideration and care for the City’s small businesses, which face some of the most significant financial burdens and are the most fragile, even during robust economic times. Given this reality, the bill exempts the smallest of businesses from the paid sick time costs of the bill. They are, however, required to provide unpaid sick leave without retribution to their employees.

The agreement reached today successfully achieves important policy change in the right way, at the right time and with the right protections for New York’s hardworking residents and business owners.

"After four and a half years of fighting for paid sick days for NYC private sector workers,  we believe that this bill's coverage of almost a million workers and job protection for all, is a major step forward in our efforts to cover all workers.

Donna Dolan, Chair, New York Paid Leave Coalition

"We congratulate the advocates, the coalition and Councilmember Brewer for their hard work to get paid sick days for New Yorkers over the last three years and applaud Speaker Quinn for negotiating a bill that will give nearly a million workers paid sick days and provide hundreds of thousands more with an assurance that they won't have to choose between taking their child to a doctor and losing their job.

Hector Figueroa, President of SEIU 32BJ

"I commend Speaker Christine Quinn and the entire City Council for negotiating a good compromise on paid sick leave. This legislation in no way impacts small businesses -- such as mom-and-pop stores -- that could not otherwise afford to compensate their employees with sick pay.”

Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

“In addition, we agree that the Department of Consumer Affairs enforce the bill and that it is to be phased in over time. I want to thank Speaker Quinn for standing up for the needs of small businesses while balancing that with the rights of workers. It's an incredible feeling to know that I won't ever again have to choose between my child's health and my job.

Juana Sanchez, member of Make the Road New York and mother of three

“This is a tremendous step forward for New York's working families.  Workers will no longer have to choose between their jobs and their health or their children’s health. We are incredibly proud to be a part of this historic and progressive moment here in New York City where so many low-wage workers without paid sick days can now have some economic peace of mind.  We thank Speaker Christine Quinn for showing courageous leadership on this issue.  And we give our deep gratitude and thanks to the entire Paid Sick Days coalition and our lead negotiators for guiding us through to a successful outcome.”

Stuart Appelbaum, President, RWDSU

“New York City Hospitality Alliance “The Alliance” has been at the forefront of the debate with the Council and with Speaker Quinn on Proposed Int. No. 97-A, the “Paid Sick Leave” bill. The position of The Alliance has not changed, we believe that this new 100% employer funded mandate properly belongs in discussion in the New York State Legislature where the cost can be funded by employers and employees, and administered by the State; however, we recognize the political realities in New York City do not presently allow for this. As such, The Alliance applauds Speaker Quinn’s efforts at producing a compromise version of the Paid Sick Leave bill.  This legislation is much improved and incorporates suggestions from The Alliance that will help small hospitality businesses comply with this new mandate in a fairer and more equitable manner. We thank Speaker Quinn for standing up for the small business community in these difficult economic times.”

Robert Bookman, NYC Hospitality Alliance

“This is a great day for New York’s working families. A million New Yorkers will no longer face a choice between taking care of a sick child and a day’s pay. And it’s now illegal for any worker to be fired for missing a few days work because of illness.”

Bill Lipton, Working Families Party.

“The changes made by the Speaker are a sensible set of improvements.  Although our members provide benefits such as paid sick leave, we have always been concerned about the impact of the original proposal on the City's small business community.  We are pleased the Speaker has been able to create a more workable program.

James Whelan, Senior Vice President, Real Estate Board of New York

“This agreement is a monumental step forward for workers throughout New York City. More than 1.3 million workers will no longer need to fear losing their jobs when they, or their children, get sick. More than 1 million workers will get paid sick leave benefits. I congratulate the many courageous workers who stood up and fought for what's right, and the many Council Members, particularly Gale Brewer and Speaker Chris Quinn, for making those workers' vision a reality.”

Andrew Friedman, Executive Director, Center for Popular Democracy

"Speaker Quinn has shown, once again, why she is such a great leader. She has supported small businesses during very difficult economic times, and has listened to our concerns continually throughout the process. No one is ever going to get 100% of what they ask for, but in this case, Speaker Quinn was able to achieve a laudable goal while mitigating many of the financial hardships this bill could have cost small businesses. We applaud her efforts and support her decision to bring this matter to a close."
Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman

By giving the companies that already provide most working New Yorkers with paid sick leave key new flexibility, by replacing a system of gotcha fines with a complaint-driven mechanism, and perhaps most importantly by protecting the City's fragile recovery by building in measures to ease in implementation and protect us in case of another economic collapse, Speaker Quinn made an especially bad bill a lot better after listening to the concerns of the business community.'
Kathy Wylde, President and CEO, the Partnership for New York City

"It took us more than three long years, but this is an important first step in ensuring that hundreds of thousands of working New Yorkers, and low-wage workers in particular, will earn paid sick days and that no worker will be fired for being out sick a few days. We will continue to fight to ensure that no worker in New York City is denied access to paid sick days."

David R Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society

"After four long years of fighting for paid sick days for New York, A Better Balance is proud to have helped insure that no worker needs to risk his job or economic security when they or their child is sick.

Sherry Leiwant, Co-Founder, A Better Balance

"We strongly believe that any paid sick leave mandate should be taken up at the state or federal level instead of the City Council.  However, we are very thankful that Speaker Quinn recognized that the Brewer bill was overly punitive and costly for the small business community. This new bill has addressed several of our specific concerns and has improved guidelines with more reasonable enforcement provisions. This bill is notably better for smaller businesses and we thank the speaker for her continued efforts to fight for jobs for New Yorkers.

Nancy Ploeger, President, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

"This law will make a big difference in the lives of so many cashiers, servers, fast food workers, carwash heroes, retail workers, nannies, and other workers who will no longer have to decide between their health and their jobs. Thank you to the Paid Sick Days Coalition, Working Families Party, SEIU, Make the Road NY, and Council Member Brewer for your tireless advocacy, and to Speaker Quinn for working to make this a reality for almost one million New Yorkers."

Council Member Brad Lander

"The agreement reached on Paid Sick Time represents a remarkable step forward for working people in New York City. Over one million New Yorkers will no longer have to choose between taking time off to care for themselves and their family, or putting food on their table. I applaud Councilmember Brewer and the coalition for their tireless advocacy for Paid Sick Time, and Speaker Quinn for working with the Council to find a solution that moves towards affording New Yorkers this fundamental right."

Council Member Annabel Palma

"Today is a great day for the working families of New York City. Thanks to Speaker Quinn, Council Member Brewer, and the tireless work of countless advocates who fought to bring paid sick days to New York City, over one million workers no longer have to decide between their job and their health."

Council Member Stephen Levin

"No New Yorker should have to fear that an illness or a sick family member will jeopardize their job. The parties arrived at a good and fair agreement on this bill, and I am happy to support the final product."

Council Member Dan Garodnick

"Having been raised in a family who ran a small business, I was very outspoken in my opposition to certain provisions contained in previous versions of this bill that were, in my opinion, harmful to small business and the city's still-recovering economy. Speaker Quinn's leadership in forging an agreement that affords robust protections both to workers and our city's small businesses is a most extraordinary accomplishment. I salute Speaker Quinn, prime sponsor Gale Brewer, my Council colleagues and advocates for labor and the business community for working together in good faith to achieve agreement on this historic bill. I am proud to support it."

Council Member James Gennaro

"The agreement on paid sick leave marks a well-earned victory for New Yorkers who fought hard to gain this provision. Paid sick leave will have a positive impact for all, as employees can now seek the care they need for themselves and their families without fear of lost wages.”

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

"The agreement reached in the Paid Sick Time Legislation is a monumental victory for our City. For the first time in our history, nearly one million workers who are seeking to care for themselves or their children will no longer be afraid of getting fired if they take a sick day. This will greatly enhance the quality of life for many hard-working mothers and immigrants living in New York City."

Council Member Julissa Ferreras

“Low wage workers no longer have to choose between taking a sick day off to care for oneself or a loved one in New York City; a major victory towards job security, social justice and fundamental fairness for working families in NYC .  

Council Member Letitia James

"Today is a historic moment for the City of New York. With the passage of this milestone legislation our City's working families will no longer have to fear the loss of jobs for taking a sick day or caring for a loved one who is ill. I thank Speaker Christine Quinn for her stewardship and for working closely with 32BJ SEIU, 1199SEIU, the Working Families Party, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York, The Paid Sick Leave Coalition, A Better Balance and the many other advocacy groups to get us a piece of legislation that all can agree on. Not only does Intro. 97-A give New Yorkers the economic security they need at a time when every penny counts for them and their families, it provides responsible provisions to ensure the prosperity of the small businesses that help make our City thrive. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in passing a bill that keeps our City's economy strong and provides families with stability."

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

"The agreement on Paid Sick Days strikes a balance between much-needed protections for working New Yorkers and the uncertainty that still exists in our economy. I am so proud to continue my support for Paid Sick Days; and I know that this bill will provide a great deal of relief for low-income workers, and especially single, working mothers and caretakers. All along I have maintained that the right to take a day off when you are sick, to care for yourself, or for your family, is a civil rights issue, not a political issue. I want to thank Speaker Quinn, my colleague Council Member Brewer, and the Paid Sick Days coalition for crafting an agreement that will greatly benefit our city for decades to come."

Council Member Margaret S. Chin

“Today is a victory for New York's working families. No one should have to choose between their health and their paycheck and I am proud to be a sponsor of this important piece of legislation.”

Council Member Jessica Lappin

“The agreement announced today represents an outcome that is fair for those having no sick leave while at the same time protecting small businesses from undue hardship and mandates. We did not miss an opportunity for a just and workable policy that will benefit so many New Yorkers while at the same realizing that hard economic times necessitated a consensus agreement taking into account the concerns of many in our business community.”
Council Member James Vacca

"Today mark's a victory for working people across the city and across the nation. The Paid Sick Leave Act will ensure millions of people have the opportunity to take a sick day off, without worrying if they will have a job when they return the next day. I applaud Speaker Quinn, Council Member Gale Brewer, and all of the stakeholders, who came together to make this day a reality.

Council Member Donovan Richards.

"A guarantee of paid sick leave is long overdue. It is not only of great importance to employees but also to co-workers who will not be exposed to illnesses and to the efficiency of businesses."

Council Member Oliver Koppell

“For years I have proudly stood with my colleagues, advocates, organized labor and thousands of working families throughout the City in the hopes that today would become a reality. As a steadfast supporter and co-sponsor of Paid Sick Time legislation, I have always believed New Yorkers should not have to make the choice between their health or the health of their loved ones and their job. It has been an honor to work closely with Councilwoman Brewer on this important issue and I thank her and Speaker Quinn for their leadership.”

Council Member Sara M. Gonzalez

“After years of debate government delivered in principal what we were elected to do. Today's agreement puts all New Yorkers on the road to fair and respectable thinking that will allow 1 million working New Yorkers the right to attend to their healthcare needs while keeping their right to provide for their families. Hopefully one day all working New Yorkers will enjoy this right.

Council Member Andy King