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NYers Speak Out on Paid Sick Leave

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Employers and workers are letting the City Council know what they think about a bill that would require all businesses to provide paid sick time. WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez has more on yesterday's first hearing on the measure.

REPORTER: Adela Valdez says she used to work at a Tribeca factory that makes high end lampshades, but she got sick, worked three days with a fever, then asked her boss for time off to see a doctor. Valdez says she was told "fine, but don't come back because we need people who can work and who don't get sick".

Advocates say low wage Latino workers are most likely to have no paid sick time. But business owners say the legislation is too expensive, especially during an economic downturn. Robert Bookman testified for the New York State Restaurant Association and predicted the cost would be passed on to workers:

BOOKMAN: either with reduced hours or reduced benefits or with layoffs of their fellow workers.

REPORTER: Some businesses were also concerned workers would abuse the benefit. The measure requires a doctor's note after an absence of more than three days. For WNYC, I'm Cindy Rodriguez.

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