“As COVID-19 continues to spread across New York, threatening the health of residents everywhere, it is also wrecking havoc with the livelihoods of untold numbers of small business owners and those they employ. The loss of income these businesses are experiencing will force some to shut their doors quickly while others may survive a bit longer. But, without a doubt, the ill-advised legislation authored by Senate Democrats and passed yesterday will amplify the financial stress these small business owners are experiencing during this unprecedented crisis.
“While there is some consolation that last-minute changes to the bill narrowed its scope and removed some of the most damaging provisions, nonetheless, there was a better option. We introduced legislation that would have supported workers under mandatory or precautionary quarantine by making them eligible for compensation through the paid family leave program. This legislation was not considered, nor were any measures that would have sought to help both employers and employees cope with the hardships of this crisis.
“Instead, what was presented to us just minutes before we were required to vote on it was a measure that does not distinguish between full-time, part-time or seasonal employees. A bill that was fair, equitable and workable would have scaled paid sick leave in terms of full-time equivalents (FTEs). This failure to make distinctions has resulted in a bill that will unfairly burden small business owners with sick leave costs disproportionate to the size and income of their operations. Democrats failed to recognize that their legislation forcing a short-term payout to employees could have the very long-term result of forcing many of these already-struggling businesses to close their doors forever. That is why I voted ‘no’.