July 15th, 2013
Paid sick leave breakthrough in NYC; denied in Florida
American employees rarely get paid sick leave. So, they work sick. On May 8, 2013, the New York City Council passed, by the vote of 45 to 3, a bill affecting one million workers that requires employers in the city with over 20 employees to offer 5 days of paid sick leave per year, effective April 1, 2014. In 2015, employers with 15 or more employees must provide the benefit. This was a major sea change in the city’s employment laws, something good for employees and a mandate for employer responsibility.
Mayor Bloomberg objected. [He had won a waiver for all City workers from the state's anti-violence law passed years ago. And he promised to exempt NYC from employee protections granted in the Healthy Workplace Bill when it passes in NY State.] Mr. Entrepreneur and his cohort employer buddies hate paid sick leave, too. He vetoed the NYC bill, but it became law 2013/046 with a Council vote override (47:4) on June 26, 2013.
Great news for New Yorkers. But travel 1,000 miles south to Florida where the Governor led state legislation to override and deny any paid sick leave requirement that a city or county (Miami-Dade and Orange counties were considering bills like the one in New York City) may choose to adopt.
On June 14, Scott signed a law (HB 655) that repeals existing, and forbids future, “living wage” ordinances voted on by city councils. A living wage enables the worker to pay for housing, food, healthcare comfortably. Individuals cannot afford to live in America on a minimum wage. The state minimum wage in 2013 in Florida is $7.79 and $4.77 for tipped workers. With the new law in effect, the minimum wage will be the law in all of Florida and no preferences can be given to, or greater wages be paid to, contractors and vendors doing business with Florida cities. Of course, higher wages can be paid by employers keen to retain the best talent, but there will be no regulatory mandate to pay more just to work with city, county or state government as a client.
The companion bill to SB 655 is (SB 726) that prohibits any “political subdivision,” meaning counties, cities, state universities, public school districts and public utility districts from offering paid sick leave. It appears that these two bills are versions of template legislation drafted by ALEC.
These bills were supported by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Disney World (the “happiest place on earth,” for whom?), and YUM! Brands (Pizza Hut, KFC & Taco Bell).
This entry was posted on Monday, July 15th, 2013 at 7:37 am and is filed under Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Good News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.