Council Speaker Christine Quinn may have negotiated a more business-friendly paid sick day bill than advocates wanted, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not satisfied. Indeed, in a statement released earlier this morning, Mr. Bloomberg castigated the legislation’s latest iteration as “short-sighted economic policy” and declared his intention to veto it.
“Since the onset of the national recession, our administration has been singularly focused on rebuilding our economy,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “We have succeeded in bouncing back far more quickly than the rest of the country, and the number of private-sector jobs in the city is now at an all-time high – but there are still far too many New Yorkers out of work, and it is crucial that we continue doing everything we can to allow businesses to grow.”
However, Mr. Bloomberg did state the bill, which would exempt businesses employing fewer than 15 people and not phase the law in until next year, is an improvement over earlier versions that set the threshold much lower.
“While this compromise version of the bill is better than previous iterations, it will still hurt small businesses and stifle job creation,” he continued. “Supporters claim it will only take effect if the economy is healthy, but there is never a good time to make New York City less competitive. The bill is short-sighted economic policy that will take our city in the wrong direction, and I will veto it.”
A deal to provide five paid sick days to full-time city workers was reached late last night after labor unions, liberal activists and some mayoral candidates pressured Ms. Quinn to allow a paid sick day vote. For several years, Ms. Quinn argued, like Mr. Bloomberg, that the bill would have an adverse effect on the local economy. But at a City Hall press conference today, she said the compromise struck the right balance between the needs of city workers and the small business community.
“We really wanted to balance the different interests that were out there,” Ms. Quinn explained, “to get workers who needed and deserved paid sick leave that right, get people protection so they could take days off and not lose their jobs, but we wanted to do it in a way that was mindful of the economy, mindful of the impact on small businesses, both in size, but also in administrative impact.”
Ms. Quinn likely has the votes to override Mr. Bloomberg’s veto.