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Lawmakers Reach Compromise Deal To Require Paid Sick Leave

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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, advocates and unions have reached a deal on legislation to require paid sick leave in New York City for many businesses.

Under the deal, a business with 20 or more employees would have to provide five days of sick leave. That requirement would go into effect in April of 2014.

That ceiling would be lowered to include businesses with 15 or more employees in October of 2015.

Employees must have worked for at least four months before they will be allowed to take sick leave.

Part-time workers will be allowed to take sick leave, but seasonal employees and work-study students will be excluded.

All businesses will also be required to provide unpaid sick leave to their employees starting in April of 2014.

The deal is a major change from the legislation originally proposed, which would have affected businesses with five or more employees.

Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the bill's main sponsor, told NY1 that the compromise would also include protections for employees at smaller businesses if they were to take unpaid sick leave. The bill would make sure they couldn't get fired.

"I am honored to be member of the City Council that addressed this issue, and I thank all of my Council colleagues who supported the legislation," Brewer said Thursday in a statement. "One million New Yorkers will now have the fundamental right to take a paid day off when they or a family member is ill, and no worker will be fired if they must stay home."

For three years, Quinn refused to bring the paid sick leave proposal to a vote at the council, saying the economy was too fragile.

After supporters threatened to force it to the floor, and after she was booed at mayoral candidate forums, she brought together all of the parties this past week to come up with a compromise.

"I wasn't willing to make a deal at four employees or up, and I wasn't willing to make a deal with no economic factor, and I wasn't willing to make a deal on a bill that went into effect in 90 days," she said. "Everything began to change. Conversations began to occur. Real partners came to the table who wanted to negotiate. So things evolved."

But she said there is a caveat: the economy has to continue to head in the right direction.

"A series of factors linked to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York economic standards have to continue to be trending in the correct direction," she said. "If those factors trend in the wrong direction, the law will not go into effect in a year."

One of her 2013 opponents, Bill de Blasio, quickly pounced on the deal. He praised advocates for their hard work, but said the deal would leave 300,000 New Yorkers behind.

Elsewhere, unions and advocates praised the measure.

The business community aggressively opposed the original bill, but several groups said Thursday that they would not protest the compromise bill.

In an email, the president of the Partnership for New York City said the framework for this bill was "much better than in past versions."

The New York City Hospitality Alliance told NY1 that they would not oppose this version.

"This legislation is much improved and incorporates suggestions from The Alliance that will help small hospitality businesses comply with this new mandate in a fairer and more equitable manner," the Hospitality Alliance said in a statement.

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