Tag Archives: Councilmember Gale A. Brewer

Council enacts paid sick leave law with veto override


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

In a 47-4 vote, the City Council enacted the New York City Earned Sick Time Act Thursday, overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the legislation.

The bill will eventually give paid sick leave to approximately one million New York employees who do not currently have it, and will protect them from being fired for taking a day off when they or their family members are ill.

“I was fired earlier this year when I got the flu and I took one sick day off. I have four children and it was very difficult to be out of work and have no way to support my family,” Emilio Palaguachi, a member of Make the Road New York and an Elmhurst resident said in a statement. “I’m so happy to know that, once this law goes into effect, what happened to me will not happen to any other worker in New York City.

Beginning next April, businesses with 20 or more employees will be required to give at least five paid sick days per worker. Starting in October 2015, businesses with 15 or more workers will have to do the same.

After opposing the original bill, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn helped broker a new deal and the Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act 45-3 on May 8.

“New York has traditionally been at the forefront of creating safe, fair working conditions for its people and I am proud for my colleagues to join me today in confirming this legacy,” said Councilmember Gale Brewer, the bill’s lead sponsor.

“This will greatly enhance the quality of life for the hundreds of immigrants and hard-working single mothers living and working in my district and throughout the city,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.

New York joins several other cities across the country in adopting sick time policy, including Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, according to Make the Road New York.

 

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City Council passes paid sick leave bill


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@ChrisCQuinn

City legislators voted today to rectify the New York’s policy on paid sick leave, and now have enough support to override a veto from the mayor’s office.

Councilmembers voted 45-3 on the bill that would require businesses with 20 or more employees to give at least five paid sick days per worker beginning next April. Starting in October 2015, businesses with 15 or more workers will have to do the same.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, helped broker the deal in its current incarnation, after opposing the parameters originally put forth.

However, Manhattan Councilmember Gale A. Brewer, who’s pushed for paid sick leave since 2010, received most of the credit during the bill’s roll call vote.

“I want to congratulate Councilmember Gale Brewer and the paid sick leave coalition,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. Opposed to the original standards the bill put forth, Comrie said this was a compromise that may not be ideal “but a major step forward.”

The bill also guarantees unpaid sick days to all New York workers, despite the size of their company or business.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly promised to veto the bill when it comes across his desk, saying it will kill small businesses across the city.

Private sector jobs were up to one of the highest numbers in the city’s history, the mayor announced during his budget address last week. In response to the bill passing, however, Bloomberg alleged the bill would back track economic development.

The bill could cost employers other employees or other benefits as they’ll have to allocate more money toward the paid sick days.

Quinn, announcing the agreement between councilmembers and labor leaders in March, said the current bill is more of a balance for workers and proprietors. The bill will also be put on hold if the city’s economy takes a downturn in the time in between.

 

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Quinn: City Council reaches deal on required paid sick leave


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@ChrisCQuinn

Small businesses will soon be mandated to provide an allotted number of sick days, after a compromise on the much-debated legislation was struck last night.

Union leaders, advocates and city lawmakers came to a deal on the Paid Sick Leave bill, which has been opposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, for the last three years. Quinn, however, would ultimately go on to broker the deal on the bill.

It will go to the City Council, where it’s expected to pass with enough support to override a Bloomberg veto.

When the full bill kicks in a year from now, businesses with at least 20 employees will have to give workers at least five paid sick days. Companies with at least 15 or more employees must provide paid sick leave beginning October 2015.

All businesses, Quinn said when officially announcing the deal, will be required to provide unpaid sick leave beginning April 2014.

The combined paid and unpaid days would benefit more than a million New Yorkers, just under a million of which would be covered by paid sick leave, according to Quinn.

Although publically opposing the parameters of the plan for years, Quinn said she always supported the goals of the bill and striking an agreement was a matter of how and when.

But, should the economy take another downturn, the bill, expected to pass the council in late April, would be delayed until the city and small businesses can sustain it.

The effects on small business have been a concern since Manhattan Councilmember Gale A. Brewer started pushing for the bill three years ago.

This deal, Quinn said, found the balance on benefiting workers without hurting their employers.

“It’s been my goal to make sure that when we provide this important benefit to millions of people who need access to paid sick leave,” she said. “We did it without creating an administrative burden on those businesses that currently offer the benefit when they can least afford it.”

Advocacy groups and unions have reacted positively to the announcement. They have particularly applauded Brewer’s work and that workers don’t have to fear being fired to take a day off to rest, or care for another.

“No longer will a parent have to make the impossible choice whether to stay home to care for a sick child or go to work to feed their family,” said Javier Valdez, co-executive director of Make the Road New York.

32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa said the bill would set the bar nationwide for providing paid sick leave to workers.

“We are telling not only New York, but the nation, that the time is right. The time is right to take care of one another. The time is right to make it easy for working people to provide for their families. And the time is right to be able to reconcile the interests of business with the interests of the majority of the working population.”

The Queens business community also appreciates that the deal finds a balance between helping workers and not affecting merchants, said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

“We applaud her [Quinn’s] efforts and the efforts of Councilmember Gale Brewer,” Friedman said. “We appreciate the fact that she listened to us throughout the process and we’re 100-percent behind her decision.”

 

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