Across the country, cities and states are considering proposals to establish minimum standards for earned paid sick time. One such measure, the Paid Sick Time Act (Intro. 97A), is pending in the New York City Council. This proposal would guarantee all workers in New York City the opportunity to earn time off to care for themselves or a sick family member.
The proposed law would establish a modest floor for earned paid sick time as a basic work standard, like the minimum wage. In the current version of the bill, workers would be able to earn five to nine days of paid sick time, depending on the size of the firm. At smaller mom-and-pop businesses, workers would be able to earn up to five days of sick time they could use without fear of losing their jobs, but the time off would not have to be paid.
Local, independent small business owners pride themselves on their close connection to their communities, customers and employees. Treating customers right and treating employees like family are small business values. In keeping with these values, many small business owners agree in principle with setting a standard for earned paid sick time but have questions about how the standard would work and what it would mean for their businesses.
This report examines small business considerations in relation to New York City’s earned paid sick time proposal. It combines data from a review of existing research on the costs and benefits of a paid sick leave policy with statements from local small business owners sharing their experiences and views on earned paid sick time.