Why Doesn’t New York City Government Focus on Real Issues?

Business owners in New York City have plenty of real issues to worry about – global competition to America’s soft economy, high rents, and astronomical 50% taxes for entrepreneurs who live in the great Borough of Manhattan, and so much more.  There are real issues which business owners in NYC – and anywhere – need to be concerned with as I know first hand as founder of a PR firm.

For many, Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to rid NYC of sugary drinks larger than 16-ounce portions was ridiculous. Now, comes something more ridiculous – which is actually dangerous for business – the NYC City Council has a “proposed paid-sick-days law.”

Under the proposed bill, the NYC Department of Health (DOH) would require small businesses to give their employees at least five sick days a year.  Business would be required, upon demand, to turn over their employment records to DOH investigators.  Imagine the shock of a consulting firm or foreign bank if the “Department of Health” knocked at their door? Sounds like a communist country or a bad drama movie. Indeed, if this bill passes that will be the fate of many New York business owners.

As if business owners don’t have enough to worry about, under this proposed law they’ll need to give multilingual written notice to all employees and post similar posters in a visible place in the office. If the Department of Health finds that an employer fired a worker for calling in sick too many times, they have the right to be compensated for at least $5,000 as well as receive benefits —”including reinstatement and promotion.” Has all of New York State gone union and forgotten to notify us? Forced reinstatement and promotion?

Imagine staffers in President Obama’s office feign sickness the day of the State of the Union and other very busy days.  Will they be given promotions for not showing up? Employees will also be able to accumulate unused paid sick days into future years.

Naturally, the proposed rules don’t require employees to provide much besides their word.  An employer may not demand a physician’s note until the third day out – and of course, the employer cannot withhold pay if the worker fails to produce even such minimal documentation. Of course, then some other government office will come knocking.

Employees shouldn’t be taken advantage of – but nor should employers.  In America, people have the right to quit their jobs if not treated well. I have lived and worked in New York City my whole life. My mother raised my sister and I and never took a sick day because she needed to provide for us.  She didn’t take a vacation in 10 years – because the bills don’t stop coming and she wanted to advance at work.

From the age of 12, I worked in a local pizzeria for an Italian immigrant who worked 80 hours a week to put his kids through school – he didn’t take sick days.  There’s nothing wrong with being sick – but there’s also nothing which requires the law to mandate employers to offer sick days.  People always have the right to quit their jobs if they aren’t happy.  Why is this something government needs to be involved with?

For a state which already ranks at the very bottom of the “Small Business Survival Index” this is more activity that is bad for business. The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan Washington, D.C. tax research group ranked New York State as the worst place in the nation for establishing a business based on taxes. This move will damage business owners who already pay high taxes, and have to deal with strict regulations.

As owner of a white-collar PR agency which employs over 100 people in the heart of Manhattan, all our employees receive 2 weeks vacation, and a mixture of 5 sick/personal days.  They also receive many other holidays, federal and otherwise, like the day after Christmas, etc.  We treat them well and thankfully people stay a long time.  This bill won’t affect us – and at my business like any other, people unfortunately sometimes do quit.  But we treat them well, and it’s none of the governments business, as indeed people do have choices.

Building a small business in the once great city of New York has never been harder than today.  Absurd government regulations seek to tell entrepreneurs what to do.  The role of a business owner is to create wealth and jobs.  Entrepreneurs drive the economy and the global marketplace – they create jobs and so much more.

It is already hard enough to build a business – the government shouldn’t make it harder. It would be nice, if just once, business was helped and not hurt by government. Businesses in America aren’t the bad guys – don’t keep punishing and hurting business.  It harms the economy – and the people.

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  • Fritz

    I wonder if this regulation may cross the constitutional line? Just because they are called "Sick Days" does not mean that such days fall under the auspices of the New York City Board of Health in terms of regulation. In fact this sounds more like it would fall under labor laws and employment standards, labor laws and regulations are a State and a Federal affair, not local. How they could interpret health regulations to cover how many sick days a company has to offer, whether they are paid sick days, and whether or not someone could be terminated for abusing the privilege, sound like they are overstepping their authority.

  • Asher

    What can I say…keep voting for ultra liberals and you will loose everything. Insanity means doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results!

  • LindaRivera

    People-hater, mega super wealthy Bloomberg doesn't care how many small businesses he destroys or how many employees of the small businesses he destroyed, lose their jobs.

    What else can you expect of Bloomberg who wanted Islam honored with a mosque at the place where our cherished 3,000 where barbarically murdered by the followers of Islam.

  • Max

    He is the biggest disgrace in this great city. A lizard-looking ugly man with a lot of money who is hell-bent on destroying American values and who apparently loves the idea of socialism, while he is enjoying all privileges of an elitist billionnaire life. There is a video on the web that shows a stand-up journalist who confronted this """hole about why he has six armed bodyguards and why he does not want Americans to be able to defend themselves with firearms. He had a nerve to tell the journalist sarcastically, "I'll have to get back to you on this." God, New Yorkers, what is wrong with you, how could you elect this trash? Are you ALL libs? Really?

  • pierce

    Mayor Bloomberg is full of himself.

  • Michelle

    Speak as an average everyday person, I Am Not a Robot (sorry I am not build like Mr. Pizza). I work with students who bring every sickness you can think of in my college computer classroom. I have to touch mouse, keyboards, smart-boards, and print-outs (yuck) each day. I am sick at least once a year and have to cancel class or have someone cover I don’t get paid. Loss income but my expenses are not reduce due to me being ill. This will help