Mayor Bloomberg has never liked the paid sick bill, which had bounced around the City Council for years until City Council Speaker Christine Quinn struck a deal to get it through. And it comes as no surprise that he will veto the bill.
In a statement yesterday, the mayor said:
Since the onset of the national recession, our Administration has been singularly focused on rebuilding our economy. 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. While this compromise version of the bill is better than previous iterations, it will still hurt small businesses and stifle job creation. 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.
There is enough support in the Council for it to override a veto.
Quinn, who had opposed the bill for years (perhaps due to the business sector support for her mayoral campaign), managed to work out a modification where full times full-time employees at companies with 20 or more workers would receive five paid sick days a year. The legislation won't go into effect until April 2014, and the following year would expand the program to companies with 15 or more workers. Smaller exempt companies would be required to give workers' five unpaid sick days a year, and the law would formally prohibit companies from firing workers who take sick days. But if NYC's economy sags before next April, it will be cancelled altogether.
By getting paid sick leave basically passed, Quinn has neutralized one of her mayoral opponents' strongest complaints against her. Public Advocate Bill deBlasio had especially been vocal in criticizing her lack of initiative about paid sick leave. The NY Times reports today, "It was the latest episode in which Ms. Quinn’s deal-making acumen deprived Mr. de Blasio of a potent line of attack, showcasing the power that her incumbency as speaker gives her to outmaneuver opponents in the race for mayor."