Discussing The Paid Vacation Bill

Author: Maria Diaz

An op-ed by Monica Saxena 


Being the owner of a small business in any place is a challenge, but in New York, recent mandates have made the task increasingly daunting; increased regulations that squeeze owners with compliance costs and hefty fines, the high cost of healthcare and other employee benefits such as paid sick days, a recently implemented minimum wage increase, and high rents that have made once proud storefronts into empty vestiges of what they once were all have created concern about the future for small business owners in the city.

Now the city wants small business owners to carry another burden, as a bill that would force small business owners to provide their employees with paid vacation and personal days off is being discussed by the city council. This bill would provide employees with an hour of paid time off for every thirty hours they work, and can earn up to eighty hours of time off, and has strict compliance measures for small business owners.

Of the more than 200,000 businesses in New York City, 89 percent are employ fewer than 20 employees. Having already been faced with the previously mentioned obstacles, small businesses will have to do even more to keep themselves afloat as paid time off will force small business owners to pay employees while they are taking a vacation, and to find and pay additional employees to cover shifts. Furthermore, employees may have to work longer hours to make up for lost work or may have to put off some work, which can prevent customers from obtaining a good or service that they may need.

Instead of applying a “one-size-fits-all” bill for paid time-off that fails to take into account the unique needs of small business owners, especially those with unique challenges such as having part-time staffs, the city should look at its “Small Business First” initiative, which includes “[reducing] the burden imposed by complex regulations and fines” as one of the ways to help small businesses in the city grow.

While paid vacation and personal time are a morally good imperative, they do nothing to help the already struggling small business owners of the city and, if passed, will force visitors and locals alike to bear the cost through higher prices for everyday products, meals and services.

As city officials wonder why storefront vacancy rates are high, they somehow miss the fact that they themselves are pushing business owners out of the city with high-costing regulations. This bill will only add to that and should be either amended to reduce the damage done to very small business owners, or rejected outright.