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Paid Sick Leave Likely Coming to Restaurants Next Year

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The New York City Council has reached a deal on legislation that will require all businesses with 15 or more full-time employees to allow five paid sick days per year for those workers. This deal is about three years in the making, as City Council speaker Christine Quinn had previously blocked it out of fears it would be harmful for an already-fragile economy. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to veto the legislation, but the New York Times reports that it likely has enough support in the Council to override that veto.

If that happens, the legislation still won't go into effect until the next spring, and for the first year-and-a-half it would only apply to businesses with 20 or more employees. In either case, this will directly affect restaurants, many of which will now be required to give paid sick leave to employees that previously didn't get any. Last night Bloomberg critic Ryan Sutton fished for opinions on the legislation on Twitter, with William Tiggert arguing that between paid sick leave and new healthcare laws, restaurant payroll costs will go up four percent or more, with this cost transferring to consumers. The flip side, of course, is that this will theoretically lead to less food-borne illness, as fewer restaurant workers come to work sick for fear of losing wages or getting fired.

Similar legislation exists in cities (with vibrant food scenes) like San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. In those cities the rules are actually even more stringent, requiring any business with more than five employees to offer paid sick leave.
· Deal Reached on Paid Sick Leave in New York City [NYT]
[Photo: Shutterstock/photomak]