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City Council Approves Expansion of Paid Sick Leave Law

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As expected, the City Council approved Wednesday an expansion of the city's paid sick leave law, covering thousands of more New Yorkers, and while the bill means that Bill de Blasio already has a legislative victory, it's one that may come with some caveats. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Some 350,000 more New Yorkers will get paid sick leave after the City Council approved an expansion to the city's paid sick leave law Wednesday.

Included are New Yorkers who work at small businesses, some mom and pop shops with more than five employees.

"This is important for workers," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "This is important for the health of our city."

The expansion was the first piece of legislation to sail through the council during the de Blasio-Mark-Viverito era. It took just seven weeks.

"Initially, when the mayor announced it, there was some surprise on that first day that he announced it, that he had done this," said City Councilman Daniel Dromm of Queens.

"It's not being railroaded. It's been discussed thoroughly for over three years," Mark-Viverito said. "Concerns have been heard and been addressed."

Those concerns were heard on the Council floor and just outside of City Hall.

"When the burdens and the costs come down the pipe, businesses will have to make a decision whether to hire new employees, keep employees or, in the worst case scenario, have to let employees go," said Andrew Rigie of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

"It's going to have a negative impact on small businesses," said City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens.

The original legislation, approved last year, would have applied to businesses with more than 20 employees. The expansion lowers that cap to businesses with five employees.

It takes effect in five weeks. Small businesses will have a grace period, and any first violation will be forgiven during the law's first six months.

Many who voted for the measure did so with some hesitation.

"Two months later, we're expanding on it without having really negotiated and really talked to small business," said City Councilwoman Inez Dickens of Manhattan.

"We as a Council should be committed to hearing further concerns from small businesses as this bill becomes fully implemented," said City Councilman Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan.

As part of this expansion, the administration says that over the next several months, it will be conducting outreach to small businesses to make sure they can comply. One can assume that businesses will be listening.

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