Mandatory paid sick time could hurt small businesses

State News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants paid-sick time off for all employees throughout the state as part of his 2020 comprehensive paid sick leave law, and this is something that can impact small business right here in Rochester.

Leaders with the Greater Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce say while they want policies to protect workers, the proposal for mandatory paid sick time could hurt small businesses.

“A number of our members already offer time off to their employees. In many cases they offer paid time off, it’s not specifically for paid sick time, it’s just paid time off. Vacation time, or what have you. And so adding on another up to 7-day requirement is very cumbersome,” said Marc Cohen, Chief of Staff, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

Under the new proposal, a business would have to provide sick time off based on the number of employees they have. This also includes five days of job-protected unpaid sick leave for small businesses with four or fewer employees.

Governor Cuomo talked about the measure in his state of the state saying without paid sick leave, some employees chose to go to work sick rather than miss a payday, thus creating an unsafe work environment.

“It’s good for employees and it’s good for business,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrat New York State.

But widespread policies like these are measures the Chamber of Commerce say need more feedback from business owners.

“We are in favor of ensuring that employers give their employees time for when they’re sick or their family or whoever is sick. What we want to make sure though is that any new policies that are implemented are done so in a way that’s going to address the problem,” said Cohen.

The move follows New York City who has mandated paid sick leave for all city employees since 2014.

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