Hankering to do more travel to spread his progressive gospel, Mayor de Blasio gilded his sixth State of the City address with a first-in-the-nation promise to give almost all of Gotham’s private-sector workers two weeks of paid vacation a year.
Far be it from us to begrudge stretched-to-the-max working Joes and Janes the right to a little time off. But it shouldn’t be too much to ask the big man promising unprecedented change to demonstrate the case for a sweeping mandate.
De Blasio lamented the “half-million New Yorkers who can’t take so much as a single day off, not one, to be there when their child needs them or to gather with their family for a wedding or a funeral or just to take care of themselves.”
Where does that number come from? A rough extrapolation from national figures.
About that “can’t”: The fact that a half-million workers may lack a formal guarantee of paid vacation doesn’t mean they’re all cruelly and systematically denied time off. Even those hourly workers who don’t get paid time off often get a break when they request it, or when seasonal cycles permit; they just don’t get paychecks while they’re away, because they’re only paid for the time they work.
Which means a paid vacation mandate really just amounts to another forced pay increase, one that comes on the heels of steep increases that have brought the minimum wage (happily!) to the not-long ago hard-to-imagine rate of $15 an hour.
And as restaurant owners and others brace for a likely end to the state’s lower minimum wage for tipped workers.
And soon after the City Council mandated rigid new scheduling requirements on managers.
The city should do right by workers who are truly denied time off. And it should spend as much time taking to heart the concerns of the business owners who keep them employed.