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Albany County Legislature fails to pass paid sick leave act

June 10, 2019 11:13 PM

ALBANY -- The Albany County Legislature failed to pass the paid sick leave act Monday night.

The local law was introduced more than a year ago. The Albany County Legislature says 40 percent of workers in the county lack access to paid sick time. This law would make it so that all employees will accrue a minimum of one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.

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“We stand up for the people that can’t stand up for themselves,” said Albany County Legislature Chair Andrew Joyce. “Low wage workers that sometimes have to make a choice between going to the doctors and going to work.”

Legislatures said the law would have promoted a healthy and safe county by reducing the spread of illness and reducing healthcare costs.

A group not on board with the local law was the Albany Restaurant Association. They said while they support paid sick leave, they said they did not agree with how the local law was written.

“In a restaurant, there is no empty desk,” said Ric Orlando the Executive Chef and Managing Consultant at New World Bistro in Albany. “If you call in sick today, I have to put somebody at your desk. It’s not like a bank where paperwork sits for a day. So it’s a double whammy for us. I calculated it’ll cost me about $80,000 a year to implement this policy, which is the money I spent on local farms, local craft people and I donate to not for profits.”

Many Monday night said while they agree that everyone deserves sick leave, they said this should be done on a state level.

“If you take those costs and put them only on one county, then anyone who is going to potentially be investing is going to look and say okay I can make as a business owner an additional “x” amount of profit if I’m simply located one mile across the line,” said Co-Owner of the Savoy and President of the Albany Restaurant Association Jason Pierce.

Joyce said it is unlikely the legislature will take up the law again.

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Emily DeVito

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