Paid Sick Leave Pressure

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Progressives are mounting a campaign to force the City Council to pass paid sick leave legislation. Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party, discusses the bill and the issue.


Dan Cantor

Comments [47]

ursonate from Boston, MA

if the work environment is good, then employees will not use all their sick days unnecessarily. Or maybe these employers just need to be more flexible overall. Give the employees an opportunity to make up the time. It doesn't have to be black or white.

I guess I can safely assume these companies don't give vacation or PTO time either.

Aug. 24 2012 05:51 PM


Well, if growing to over 100 people while providing paid sick leave, profit sharing, full family level health care coverage to all employees, paid vacation, flexible working hours, and paid expenses for visa and green card processes makes me a bad business owner/planner, then I guess you are correct.

Again, I would suggest that anyone unhappy with their situation look to change it with a new job or a business of our own. Or, now I can add to that list -- just be like Becky and become one "of the fortunate ones for whom this is a non issue". Clearly that's the best option for the world's population.

Aug. 23 2012 12:50 PM
blshow listener 1.0

so much meanness on these boards.


Aug. 23 2012 12:42 PM
The Truth from Becky

Aha just looked at the previous comments from JIM, crybaby whiner in the room! Just like I thought.. lol and a bad business owner/planner.

Aug. 23 2012 12:34 PM
The Truth from Becky

@JIM, clearly you must be new on here...and clearly you ARE a crybaby whiner!

I am of the fortunate ones for whom this is a non issue and again I say, no matter what level of employment you choose, if you are a dedicated employee and cannot count on these crybaby whiner business owners to pay for a day or two of sick pay, their business if failing other employment.

Aug. 23 2012 12:32 PM


Does the reverse hold true for employees? Are you just a crybaby whiner who is at fault for failing to plan for your own illness or for failing to choose a job that offers better benefits?

Aug. 23 2012 12:26 PM
Working Girl from Corporate America

I once worked at a small company (12 people) where new employees got paid sick days after they were employed 30 days, which might be the standard at most large companies. A new, low-paid clerical worker who was a young, single mother could not find a babysitter for her sick 1-year old, so she resorted to bringing her child to work with her rather than taking the day off without pay to stay home with him.

Her wealthy, married, childless boss had the audacity to say to her: "Why don't you leave him [the child] with the lady across the street? She babysits kids."

I nearly fell off my chair when I heard this. No mother in their right mind would leave their child with someone they don't know. To top that off, the boss told her never to bring her child to work with her again, because it poses an insurance risk. I understand that from an employer's point of view, but what was this employee supposed to do?

When you live paycheck to paycheck (as most people do), you can't afford to take a day off without pay. This particular company should have been more flexible with the employee in this situation.

On a side note, this company did not offer a dental benefit plan for its employees. But of course, "Management" didn't need a dental plan, since they were the highly-paid executives who could afford to go to the dentist.

THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO VENT against the inequalities of the average worker vs. the wealthy executive.

Aug. 23 2012 12:21 PM
scott from soho

@ Producer

Having a guest like Dan Cantor comment on how this legislation would impact the lives of workers is just fine. On the other hand, having Dan Cantor comment on how this legislation would impact business is simply ridiculous. It appears that he has zero grasp of what it takes to run a business as demonstrated by his lack of understanding on how losing revenues and adding additional expense would negatively impact a Spa's finances.

Why not add a little credibility to the discussion and have a business owner give the audience a real world assessment of this legislation. They might also add a few viable ways to address the issue that will benefit all parties involved.

I also think that you, Brian, and the audience would learn alot by listening to more than one side of an issue.

Aug. 23 2012 12:11 PM
The Truth from Becky

You small business owners on here are the biggest crybaby whiners I ever heard read your business plan, you had to write up one to get the loan to start ya business right? If you didnt plan enough to cover salaries then your fault! If you didnt anticipate sick pay, growth, workers comp, paid vacation etc...YOUR FAULT!

Aug. 23 2012 12:06 PM

Support small business growth and financial health. Encourage growth and hiring as businesses become stronger so do their benefits packages and wages. This is not a city counsil issue. This is an agreement between employee and employer.

Aug. 23 2012 11:53 AM
gary from queens

I'm going to frame this comment as emblematic of how liberals have no idea how businesses are run:

Amy from Manhattan
When small business owners get sick, do they deduct their own pay for that day? I doubt it.

In fact, most owners do not "get paid" at all for years after startup. If they're lucky enough to stay in business, they start to live on the profits years later. they dont "get paid" Amy

Aug. 23 2012 11:46 AM

Marcel - exactly. I have relatives in Europe.. who enjoy their life there... but when they come they go on shopping sprees. Why? Because NYC is "cheap" to them. They get all those benefits - but they pay for it in taxes. In general their quality of life is higher... BUT ppl need to understand that it costs a lot of money. Ppl in the US don't have the stomach for those types of costs. Ppl here complain when a newspaper goes up by 25 cents.

Aug. 23 2012 11:46 AM
Mike from Inwood

Dan Cantor says that minimum wage workers with paid sick days would NOT take them all and claims the statistics 'back him up'. Dan Cantor is full of it; those statistics are based on salaried workers, not minimum wage, hourly employees. I am a salaried employee. I have not taken a sick day in years even though I get ten a year with no questions asked. However, I worked at or just above the minimum wage until I was 28 years old. If I'd had paid sick days, I would've used them all as vacation if I thought the boss would've been none the wiser.

Aug. 23 2012 11:45 AM
Marcel from Nyc

To a previous commenter:

I can't speak for other employers but I will tell you that unless I'm absolutely unable to move, yes I actually show up to work when I'm sick where I would not expect that from any of my workers.
I can't afford the lost revenue or delays on a project.

Aug. 23 2012 11:45 AM


When my business was small and struggling I could not afford to pay myself at all and lived on credit cards. But my employees always got paid -- even when they were sick.

The life of an employer can be very different than the life of an employee and there are both good and bad points to either role.

I recommend that everyone who is unhappy with their benefits look for a better job or start their own business.

Aug. 23 2012 11:43 AM
Lester from UES

I work as an adjunct professor at three schools. I get no benefits of any kind. I get paid only for the hours I teach and so work seven days and four nights a week to cover my health insurance and occasional sick days. Or times when school is closed -- not by my choice. Will we be covered?

Aug. 23 2012 11:42 AM
Marcel from Nyc


As an employer in the construction industry I have this to say: there are all kinds of benefits I wish I could pay my employees but I just don't have the money for it. The competition is so stiff and jobs are being constantly being lowballed and underbid, it's extremely hard to stay alive as a business as it is.
To me the problem is not with the employers. Aside from economic problems, we as a society are unwilling to care of each other that way. My clients, often well off in NYC, regardless their political leanings, will just as hard look to save money on projects. This puts tremendous pressure on all contractors, even the ones who want to do the right thing.
In Europe prices tend to lay quite a bit higher, and more of that gets passed on to social services.
It's the price America has been paying for its insistence on the right of the individual to gain or pursue freedom (and personal wealth) even at the expense of others.

Aug. 23 2012 11:38 AM
Katherine Galarza

My husband and I both own small businesses. His biotech start up is only alive currently due to Obama's huge tax rebate which will allow them to continue their research for another year (albeit with some cutbacks

Aug. 23 2012 11:38 AM
Amy from Manhattan

When small business owners get sick, do they deduct their own pay for that day? I doubt it.

Aug. 23 2012 11:34 AM

garth... that's the point... it's a double loss for the business owner. lost potential revenue.. and paying for lack of productivity from the worker. The point is that if a business can afford it they usually will because they want the best employees... but if they can't - they can't.

Aug. 23 2012 11:32 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I disagree w/the last caller. When I was a full-time employee, I didn't take sick days unless I was sick or had a medical appointment. There were times when I only took a half day for an appointment.

Aug. 23 2012 11:25 AM
garth from brooklyn

If you have a spa, and an employee is sick causing you to lose $400 in revenue through cancelled appointments, that money is lost whether or not you pay sick leave. The loss to the employer is therefore only what you pay the employee.

Aug. 23 2012 11:25 AM

why do some of the ppl writing on here not realize that no one wants a sick employee to come to work... a biz owner who can't afford to pay them for the day just don't want to be forced to. Is it that tough a concept???

Aug. 23 2012 11:24 AM
ethan from bk

what your caller just said is patently not true. i've been at my job for nine months and have not used ONE (1) sick day, despite my spectacular employer graciously granting employees six or so per year. stop being such a bunch of cheapskates -- you're giving small business owners a black eye!

Aug. 23 2012 11:24 AM
gary from queens

Brian always has a one sided view on his show.

When it comes to illegal immigration, he presents the view of the immigrant, and not the worker who lost his job because that immigrant. Or his suppressed wages because of it.

Same here, We are hearing the view of the worker, and not the person who has to pay the worker.

Way to go Brian. unfair and unbalanced

Aug. 23 2012 11:24 AM
Sean from Brooklyn

For most jobs that I have worked the last few years, I can not be sick cause I will not get paid.

Aug. 23 2012 11:22 AM
rachel from Manhattan

How about a compromise of 1/2 pay for sick days

Aug. 23 2012 11:20 AM
eric from brooklyn

How much does it cost a business to have an office full of sick workers in lost productivity? I'm assuming it's more than the cost of a sick day.

Aug. 23 2012 11:19 AM
sue from brooklyn

why aren't employers looking at the pay as a cost for doing business? Rather than a loss of $$. It's simply a matter of being responsible. The paying of an employee for sick is the right thing to do (we all get sick) AND is a means to building a loyalty with employees.

Aug. 23 2012 11:19 AM
Judy from manhattan

They haven't really discussed the fact that when a worker is sick and not covered they will more often go to work. Thereby getting other workers sick. And, if the worker interacts with the public, the public gets sick as well!

Aug. 23 2012 11:19 AM
Leo from Queens

Brian: More often than not, because of technology I end up working from home when I'm sick since we are already overworked and the PTO (Paid Time Off) days we get are very precious and even when we take them we end up working extra hours. Workers are way too overworked.!

Regarding Christine Quin's refusal to bring this up for a democratic vote: What do people expect. She is a sellout and will do whatever to do what's good for her. That means castrating the branch of government she is responsible for; disregarding the voter's will by modifying the City Charter so she and Bloomberg could stay in power another 4 years, etc.
Quinn will be bad news for the City if she becomes mayor - She will be more authoritarian than Bloomberg and Giuliani without the charming personality of these guys!

Aug. 23 2012 11:19 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I've been in the position of not having sick days. In December, 2010, I woke up with chest pain, called the office for a sick day, then took myself over to the local hospital.

New York State law says that if you go into the hospital with chest pain, they have to keep you over night for observation, and this hospital didn't let me out until too late the following day to go to work. I therefore lost 2 days of work and then had a $500 co-pay to pay for the hospital bill. That hurt financially, as I wasn't making that much to begin with.

I understand that employers don't want to pay employees for days not worked, but we employees can't be there all the time and we need to feel appreciated and know that if we get sick, we have some back-up.

Aug. 23 2012 11:18 AM
Marissa from New York, NY

If this is a law, then business owners will necessarily have to adjust the income they need to generate to cover the extra expense - why do we shoot so low and not ask that employers aim higher? If electricity use goes up, they adjust for that increase. The same can happen for paid sick days.

Aug. 23 2012 11:18 AM

Gary from Queens, these sort of arguments that the government should not get involved at all in private businesses make no sense. Do you insist that private business pay for a private police force or fire department to protect them? Do the contracts that private business enter into make any sense without legal protection under the public court system? If private business want all the benefits of operating in a governed society, they have to make the proper concessions --- that is: no abuse of the labor force.

Aug. 23 2012 11:18 AM
Anthony from Williamsburg

This is also a public health issue. In a city where the majority commute to work in cramped subways, it would be nice for people with the flu not to be force sneeze on me!

Aug. 23 2012 11:16 AM

How are we still having this discussion in 2012!? Al Smith is rolling in his grave.

Aug. 23 2012 11:15 AM

Did you say the owner of a massage or chiropractor office (half listening) wants her employees to come in when they are sick -- or they'll lose $$ ?

Sick masseuses!


Another reason not to mingle with the poor...


Aug. 23 2012 11:15 AM
gary from queens

Why should a private employer pay someone who doesnt work, just because this guest feels the job of government is to "relieve suffering."

I don't see that in the Constitution. Let employers decide how generous they wish to be with employees. Government can pay its employees what it wishes, and private employees should pay what they wish to pay.

I see no moral justification for government leveling the playing field on wages. If you are a worker, you have an incentive to stop smoking and eat right and exercise. WHY? because you will stay healthy and get paid for showing up at work.

Aug. 23 2012 11:14 AM

I do accounting and bookkeeping work for several small businesses. These ppl started their own businesses with their own sweat and tears. They hire ppl and would like to offer all the benefits in the world but they CAN'T. If they are forced to offer paid sick days they will have to lay off someone - or they will go out of business altogether.
Rich businesses CAN afford it and that's why they do. Any employer serious about attracting talent will give it's employees all that it can to attract the best ppl. But the reality is that not all businesses can afford it... many are hanging on by the "skin of their teeth".
An academic who never started a business wouldn't know that!!!

Aug. 23 2012 11:14 AM

"Low road competition" will lose their best workers. Let the market work.

Aug. 23 2012 11:13 AM

My business offered paid sick time. Some people never used it, many people used every day allowed, and oddly, were mostly sick on Monday and Friday. If you "offer" it, the offer will be "accepted" as an entitlement.

Aug. 23 2012 11:11 AM
Hugh Sansom

The painfully obvious point here is that the _absence_ of paid sick leave creates an enormous incentive for workers sick with _communicable_ diseases to go to work and communicate that disease to co-workers, fellow subway riders, etc. It also should go without saying that management has no problem giving itself every kind of perk. They just object to extending the same to their employees (just as Congress refuses to extend to Americans the benefits they force Americans to donate to Congress).

Aug. 23 2012 11:09 AM
John from Bronx

Temps. A huge percent of the workforce in the metro area are temporary employees who work via "temp agencies." These workers do not get teh garden variety benefits available to traditional employees.

Aug. 23 2012 11:09 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

If you give people a set number of sick days per year (10 or 12, say) they are likely to use them all. If you give them unlimited sick, they will probably use fewer days. Anecdotal evidence? Yes. But I believe that it's probably true in most cases.

Aug. 23 2012 11:09 AM
Hugh Sansom

The big question here, I think, is whether Christine Quinn is expressing her own opinions or is groveling for donations from Bloomberg or other opponents of paid sick leave. The U.S. is dead last among industrial nations in denying paid sick leave (and maternity leave and paid vacation and health care) to employees. Only about 5 or 6 nations in the entire world are as stingy in extending benefits to employees.

If Quinn is acting on her own views, she has disqualified herself for mayor. If she is doing something behind the scenes (like her slush fund from a couple of years back), then she has disqualified herself for mayor.

Aug. 23 2012 10:55 AM
scott from soho

It would be nice if the show brought someone with a business background to discuss the positive or negative impact of this legislation. I like to listen to Dan Cantor but he is not exactly an expert when it comes to the operating a business.

As a business owner I would love to offer paid sick leave to all of my employees. The only issue preventing me from doing so is the fact that I cannot afford to do so.

I would be able to provide this benefit to my staff if the city and state reduced my tax burden to cover the cost of giving workers paid sick leave. The net result would be paid sick leave for workers and my business gets to stay open.

Aug. 23 2012 10:49 AM

So I wonder how much paid sick leave do Working Families Party employees get? Gotta love these political sweatshops that want everybody else to pay living wages.

Aug. 23 2012 09:32 AM

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