Bushwick small business owners support sick-leave bill

May 14, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BUSHWICK — Bushwick members of Small Business United stand in support of workers and community members in asking City Council Member Erik Dilan, “Why won’t you stand with us?” A Council bill is pending that would allow workers to earn paid sick days.

According to Small Business United, more than a million New Yorkers, including many immigrants and latinos — concentrated in food service, retail and health care — lack paid sick days. More than three in four low-wage workers lack paid sick days. In neighborhoods like Bushwick, that hurts working families, but it also hurts small business owners, says Small Business United.

The bill reportedly has 37 co-sponsors in the Council. Crafted in consultation with small business owners, the bill protects workers, jobs and the economy. Under the proposal, workers at businesses with more than five employees would earn paid sick days — nine days for businesses with more than 20 employees, and five days for businesses with five to 20. Small mom-and-pop businesses would only need to provide five unpaid, job-protected sick days to allow workers to recover from illness without fear of losing their jobs.

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Small business owner Marisol Chino, owner of El Calvario Deli in Bushwick, said, “I stand by the workers who are delivering our message in support of the Earned Paid Sick Time Act to Council Member Dilan. The current proposal protects our customer base, the majority of whom are in the service sector and are denied paid sick days. When our customers face reductions in their income, our small businesses hurt.”

Said Edgar Andrade, owner of Wyckoff 99 Cents and Hardware in Bushwick, “Everyone deserves an opportunity to take care of their health and their family. We are talking about people’s lives and ensuring we receive the health care we need when we need it — not when it’s too late. From a cost-benefit analysis, providing paid sick days saves the city money on emergency health care costs, ensures sanitary conditions by preventing the spread of illness to employees and customers, and increases worker productivity.

“Overall, it improves our local economy since our customers are the service workers who depend on their paychecks and invest back into local businesses in immigrant communities.”

Added Marco Reynoso, owner of Superstar Deli and a longtime resident of Bushwick, “Our community’s health is paramount to a strong local economy. When our workers and customers are healthy, they not only benefit, but small business owners do as well from better productivity and steady consumer buying power.

“Losing your job or a day’s pay when you’re sick doesn’t make business sense or common sense. We need to keep our economy going and having paid sick days levels the playing field for small businesses, employees and our hard-working community. Small businesses need your support, Council Member Dilan.”

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