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City Council Passes Paid Sick Leave Bill

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The City Council passed a paid sick leave bill Wednesday that could bring big changes to small businesses around the city. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

One million New Yorkers got the prescription they were looking for.

Nearly four years after it was first proposed, the City Council overwhelmingly approved legislation to require paid sick leave in New York.

"After four years, we are gloriously excited that there will be a bill that talks about paid sick leave," said Manhattan Councilwoman Gale Brewer.

The bill stalled at the council for years. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a frontrunner in this year's mayor's race, wouldn't let it come to a vote, saying the economy was too weak. But after being booed at mayoral forums, she changed her mind.

"Clearly, the economy is doing better now, thank goodness, than two or three years ago," Quinn said.

One of her 2013 rivals, Bill de Blasio, slammed the speaker for holding up the measure, adding that it doesn't go far enough.

Quinn said she took the temperature of businesses and advocates.

"We did this in a way that we didn't have to make a choice between paid sick leave and potentially losing jobs," Quinn said.

The deal requires that businesses with 20 or more employees provide five days of paid sick leave starting in April 2014. The following year, the cap is lowered to businesses with 15 or more employees.

The original proposal would have included even smaller establishments, those with five employees.

The new bill exempts manufacturing, and it is tied to the economy. If the city dips into another recession, it won't go into effect.

The paid sick leave compromise is not immune to criticism. The city's hospitality alliance said it still opposes the measure, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will veto it.

"Here's a group of people who really need help getting jobs, and to make it more uneconomical for companies to employ them is just not good business," Bloomberg said.

"Obviously, you can't always get everyone to agree, and we'll just have to respectfully disagree," Quinn said.

Bloomberg said he will veto the bill, but the 45 to three vote margin is enough support to override the veto.

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