Says restrictions should be eased
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The de Blasio administration’s move to give workers paid sick leave is admirable, but the city should also be looking out for the needs of small business owners, according to Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
"We applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for addressing the needs of all workers in New York City. However, this is the first step in a larger discussion about the needs of small businesses and their employees. While we work to address the imbalances of workers, we must ensure that the needs of small businesses - the engine of job growth throughout the five boroughs - are taken into account and addressed,” Scissura said in a statement.
Scissura, whose organization has 1,500 members, was reacting to the recent announcement by the mayor and council speaker of a plan to expand the number of employees that will be entitled to paid sick time.
The proposed legislation will require businesses with five or more employees to provide paid sick time to its employees. Under current city law, businesses with 15 or more employees are required to provide paid sick time.
“Importantly, we look forward to reviewing the bill and working with Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito on the easing of other regulations and aggressive fines that have burdened small businesses for years,” Scissura said. “This is an opportunity for all Chambers of Commerce to come together and discuss the rights of workers and how to balance that with the needs of small business owners."
Council members praised the idea of giving workers paid sick time.
“It’s time for our laws to live up to our values. This is a new day for New York City, and we are going to use every tool we have to make life better for working people,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We are going to make sure that no one is thrown into crisis and insecurity just because they or a family member gets sick.”
“No worker should have to choose between their job and their health. No parent should have to choose between taking care of a sick child and putting food on the table. It is bad for our families, our economy, and public health,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D-Park Slope).
Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint) called it “a giant step forward” for the city. “By guaranteeing paid sick days to businesses of five or more employees, our city is recognizing the important needs of working families and providing them much-needed security,” he said.
“No New Yorker should be forced to lose even one day's pay to take care of their health. As a former small business owner, I know the importance of supporting your employees. It's good economics and good government," said Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill).
The new law will help immigrant families, according to Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook).
“Far too often, hardworking immigrant families are struggling to make ends meet without basic benefits. It is time to ensure that employers allow workers to attend to their health without losing a paycheck, or even worse, a job,” Menchaca said.