Sick Days for All

If every year were an election year, city government might get something done.

Last week, the City Council gave its stamp of approval to legislation that would require companies with at least 20 employees to give full-time workers five compensated sick days a year.

The mandate will extend to businesses with 15 or more employees in October 2015. The legislation was the result of a compromise reached between the Council, business owners and the unions at the urging of Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Quinn is running for mayor in the fall and, although the mandate won’t be popular with small business owners, it will help win the support of unions and thousands of workers.

“We have a good, strong and sensible piece of legislation that recognizes the needs of everyday New Yorkers and the realities that our struggling small businesses face,” said Quinn, who had opposed this type of mandate. “Throughout these negotiations I have always said that I was willing to listen and engage all sides.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to veto the legislation.

“While this compromise version of the bill is better than previous iterations, it will still hurt small businesses and stifle job creation,” Bloomberg said.

We have no doubt the Council will override his veto just as it did the mayor’s veto of legislation exempting unions from disclosing money spent on political campaigns.

City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, another mayoral candidate, noted Quinn’s “long-standing resistance to providing working families this measure of economic security.”

“However,” he said, “the final outcome leaves out over 300,000 New Yorkers and took far too long. No one should ever have to sacrifice pay just because they get sick.”

We are sympathetic to the burden this may put on small business owners, but we think that burden has been exaggerated. We are more concerned that without sick pay sick people will go to work because they can’t afford not to.

There isn’t a person on Bloomberg’s staff or working for Bloomberg LP who doesn’t get far more than five days’ sick pay. All workers deserve the same consideration.

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