Businesses in the city with five or more employees must now provide workers with at least five paid sick days as part of a new bill recently approved by the City Council that supporters say is a victory for workers' rights. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
The morning rush for java at Dandy Espresso on Madison Avenue was a busy one Tuesday. Owner Albert Wu opened up in February and says the cold winter made it a tough go at first.
"The bad weather definitely prevented a lot of people from coming and noticing that we were here," Wu said.
Just as things are picking up, Wu's place is one of those impacted by the new paid sick leave law, approved by the City Council in February and signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio last month. It lets an estimated half million additional workers start building up time toward up to five paid sick days a year.
Wu employs seven people, and says while the plan is well intentioned, he doesn't see it working in a city where small businesses face sky high operating costs.
"It's definitely going to be more paperwork for me and my manager and it's going to be more time invested into the store in terms of working hours for us and also we are going to have to be paying for employees that are on a sick day while we are working their shifts," Wu said.
For employees like chef and assistant manager Juan Vital, the new rules have more of an upside. He is a a husband and father of two children.
"Before I used to think about it: If I'm going to get sick, and I'm not going to show up to work, I am get fired or I'm not going to get that extra money. Now there is going to be something better," Vital said.
However, Vital admits this could be a burden on his boss. Manager Dave Hinckley agrees that the plan is good for employees but wonders how it will affect their bottom line.
"I came from a family where you work for everything so it's expected if you don't work you don't get paid. That's the way I was brought up," Hinckley said.
Despite his doubts about the law's effectiveness, Wu still says he is going to comply with it 100 percent.
"The only thing we can so is hope for the best. And that's it," Wu said.
Impacted businesses have six penalty-free months to adhere to the guidelines. Meanwhile, the city and business groups are reaching out to spread the word about the new law.