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Advocates Push For City Council Vote On Paid Sick Leave

Pad Sick Leave Rally - March 22, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

Pad Sick Leave Rally – March 22, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – San Francisco passed a paid sick leave measure and so did the state of Connecticut. The issue, however, is still on the table in New York City.

Those pushing for it in the Big Apple spoke out at City Hall on Friday.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio wants to know why it’s taking the city so long to vote on a bill that would affect roughly one million residents.

“By my count, it is two years and 361 days we have been waiting for a vote,” he said Friday.

“For me, it is not a question of if we need paid sick, it is when and how that will happen, and in this form and at this time, I cannot support it, but as today’s hearing indicates, I remain open to having conversation,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Lenny Yuka owns a Jackson Heights printing company and told a crowd of supporters that he offers employees paid sick days because it’s a good investment.

“So that my employees know the business takes care of them and in turn, they take care of my business,” Yuka said.

But Kathryn Wylde, from Partnership for New York City, said it would be an added expense that would drive small businesses away.

“New York City doesn’t have one more company with 50 employees or more than it had in 2000,” she said.

“It’s not healthy for New York City businesses,” said Linda Baran from the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “The death rate of small businesses over the last four years is 30.8 percent. That means that approximately three out of every ten businesses are not surviving.”

But Dr. Manisha Sharma argued that many low income residents choose between paying their rent or taking time off to get better or pay for a sick child.

“Our cab drivers, our caretakers, food industry workers, retailers do not have paid sick time to care for themselves, their children or their loved ones,” she said.

“What about the more than one million people – so many of them single women, so many of them single mothers – who don’t have paid sick [leave]? What about those people who have to make a choice between dragging themselves in when they’re sick or not getting paid for that day?” said mayoral candidate and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

“When we got elected, we got elected to make the best decisions for all New Yorkers. For someone to work without paid sick days, it’s un-American, it’s un-New York, and it’s just un-humane,” said City Councilman Andy King of the Bronx.

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