Restaurant Law Blog

Monday, March 31, 2014

How New York City's New Sick Leave Law Impacts Restaurant and Bar Owners

As of April 1, New York City restaurant workers have a financial safety net if they have to miss work because they're sick or have to care for a sick family member.

This is great for the employees receiving this type of compensation for the first time, but, how will the new sick leave law affect NYC restaurant owners?

Shiv Puri, owner of Manhattan's Bombay Sandwich Company, was concerned about the cost when he first heard about the law. However, after calculating costs and receiving more information, he is now confident about this new measure ,The New York Times reported. Puri said his eight employees were excited about this news, he said "It’s the law and it’s the right thing to do. It won’t bust the bank. It won’t put us (the business) in jeopardy.”

Puri pays his workers $10 an hour, which is $2 more than the state minimum wage rate, and considers himself a progressive employer, but as we stated, he was worried that the newly enacted regulation would negatively affect his business.

Some important things to note about NYC sick leave law:

  • An employee is only eligible for sick days after three months on the job; workers accrue leave based on their hours worked.
  • Current employees can start taking time in July, three months after the effective date of April 1
  • Companies with five or more employees are legally required to provide up to five paid days off to workers if they, or their close relatives, fall ill.
  • Approximately 1.2 million workers will have paid sick leave for the first time, according to Nancy Rankin, vice president for policy research at the Community Service Society of New York, a group that works on behalf of low-income New Yorkers.

After crunching the numbers, Puri was happy to learn he could absorb the potential costs, and that he could extend these benefits to his employees as required by law and continue to enjoy the success of his business.

Employees are please as well. A cook at Puri's restaurant said she ended up losing $325 when she missed an entire week in March due to an illness. Since the law went into effect, Blair Phoenix feels as if she has some protection if she's in that situation again. “It’s a relief, it gives you room to breathe," the NYT quoted.

The work sectors experiencing the most growth in today's market are creating countless low-wage jobs- the job creation is great, but the pay allows workers to barely scrape by in some cases. This law will give low-wage workers, some of whom are restaurant employees, a sense of security they have not enjoyed previously.

The creation of this law makes New York City the largest in the nation to enact this sort of legal measure on businesses who employ certain categories of workers, guaranteeing job security to a vast majority of workers who might have otherwise lost their jobs or a portion of their paychecks if they became ill or had to care for a sick family member.

If you're a New York City restaurant or bar owner and have questions or concerns about the new sick leave law or any other matter related to restaurant law, contact DiPasquale Law Group of NYC at 646-383-4607.

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