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Partnership Opposes New Requirements for Private Employers

Today, the Partnership for New York City testified before the City Council to oppose legislation that would require private employers to provide paid vacation time to employees.

Thank you Chair Miller and members of the committee for the opportunity to testify on providing paid vacation time to private employees. The Partnership for New York City represents employers of a million private sector workers in the city.

The Partnership opposes Proposed Int. 800-A as an imposition on the decision of what benefits private sector employers will provide their employees. Adding ten vacation days to the five mandated paid sick days would triple the amount of paid time off for New York City employees. It would require little or no notice to employers and would substantially add to the administrative and cost burdens that the city and state have placed on employers.

These burdens are particularly difficult for small businesses to bear. They do not have legal departments to interpret new laws or human resource professionals to manage the compliance and recordkeeping for new mandates. Empty storefronts, which the Council is concerned with, are a symbol of the impact of a less-friendly business climate in the city. This is in part a result of the growing cost of new mandates, ranging from increased minimum wage to new scheduling restrictions and new training requirements that employers must comply with.

Most large employers provide paid time off, often more than would be mandated under the proposed legislation. But every company has different practices with respect to how and when this leave is taken, depending on their individual business requirements. For example, many employers incentivize employees to take time away from work by requiring them to take all of their leave time each year. Other employers allow carry over of a limited amount of unused leave time, but policies vary widely in the amount and type of time that can be rolled over. Most large employers have operations outside the city and their leave policies are difficult to change in response to local law.

There is no clear reason why the City Council should impose a single paid time off policy on all New York City employers. Certainly the specific prescriptions in this bill leave little room for policies that reflect the needs of individual businesses or the extent of the hardship that this may impose on some employers. We recognize the political impetus for the legislation and urge that, if you are moving forward, that the law exempt business with fewer than twenty employees and all those employers who certify that they are already providing at least fifteen days of paid time off pursuant to collective bargaining agreements or their own benefit arrangements. This would at least mitigate the negative impact of the bill.