Reshma Saujani wrote in a letter to The Observer that Council Speaker Christine Quinn should bring to a vote a measure that would require most small businesses to grant employees paid leave when they are sick.
“Small business owners, economists, and the majority of City Council members agree: paid sick days means a healthier city and a healthier economy,” Ms. Saujani said in the letter. “Speaker Quinn should bring the bill up for a vote.”
The letter was a response to an editorial in last week’s New York Observer which called on Ms. Quinn to reject the measure, even as prominent supporters like Gloria Steinem penned a letter to the speaker urging her to support it.
“Christine Quinn gets it. She understands that the bill may have good intentions, but she is also aware that good intentions are not enough. The city needs to create jobs, and the sick-leave bill would hinder, rather than help, that process. Her position shows genuine leadership and political toughness. That’s a good sign,” read the editorial.
Ms. Saujani has signed on to Ms. Steinem’s letter. Her letter to The Observer was sent through the Working Families Party, who have been leading the organizing effort to make the Paid Sick Bill a reality.
Ms. Saujani ran for Congress against Carolyn Maloney in 2010, arguing that Ms. Maloney had been insufficiently attuned to the city’s financial industry. After her loss, she went to work in public advocate Bill de Blasio’s office and earlier this year began exploring her own for the public advocate’s job.
Her full letter to the editor to The Observer is below:
It’s hard to believe that anyone thinks forcing sick people to go to work for fear of not making rent or losing their jobs is good for the economy. And it’s hard to believe that people getting fired just for getting sick helps our communities or our businesses. It just doesn’t make sense.
But we don’t have to speculate or argue. After San Francisco passed a paid sick days bill in 2007, their economy weathered the recession better than surrounding counties. Take it from Kevin Westlye, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, who has said that the paid sick days bill, far from being bad for business, is “the best public policy for the least cost.” And in Connecticut, the unemployment rate has dropped by a full percentage point, faster than the nation as a whole, since they passed a statewide paid sick days bill last year.
What paid sick days is about is basic economic security for workers and their families. Small business owners, economists, and the majority of City Council members agree: paid sick days means a healthier city and a healthier economy. Speaker Quinn should bring the bill up for a vote.