It seems that, with the exception of a small few, the restaurant owners affected by New York City’s new paid sick days legislation agree with it in principle, not practice.
Food blog Eater surveyed four small restaurant owners in New York City to get their thoughts about the new paid sick days law. Despite overwhelming evidence that points to the positives of the legislation, most of them disagreed with the law.
“Philosophically I completely love the idea of paid sick leave. I love the idea of a living wage,” says Monica Byrne, owner of Home/Made.
But then Byrne goes on to note that while she’s “all for getting us there” she’d prefer to do it “in a sane manner that doesn’t make it impossible for teeny little mom and pop—or mom and mom in my case—businesses to survive.”
In reality, there are thousands of workers and their families are struggling to survive while ill due to inadequate paid sick leave.
“In general I’m not against the law. I think it’s very good, especially for the back of house employees,” said William Tigertt, owner of N.Y.-based Freemans.
He then counters his own claim by noting that, “The way it shakes out, I think it will eventually end up eliminating more jobs as people try to cut back as much as they can, and do more quick service or fast casual concepts where there isn’t as much labor.”
Contrary to Tigertt’s statement, giving employees paid sick days doesn’t have a great financial impact on businesses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paid sick days costs employers less than 1 percent of employees average pay.
Still, there were a few restaurant owners who were in favor of the now final law.
James Mallios, owner of Amali, made the decision to give workers paid sick days over a month ago, for both business and moral reasons:
“I used to work at a job where I had sick days, and I didn’t think twice about it. Someone should be able to do that. It doesn’t make them a bad employee, it doesn’t make them a bad person, it just means their priorities are correctly aligned. And on a completely selfish level, in terms of dollars and cents, one of the most under-appreciated assets in the restaurant business is your employees. There’s an amazingly high cost to attrition.”
Photo courtesy of Peter Stevens via Flickr.