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Study's cost of paid sick leave: $789M a year

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Business group fights proposed paid-sick-days mandate with a damning review of the costs. Proponents of the idea call the group's study flawed.

A study expected to be released Tuesday by the Partnership for New York City argues that the paid sick leave proposal under consideration by the City Council will increase private-sector payroll costs in the city by 0.3%,

or a total of $789 million per year, according to an advanced copy obtained by Crain's New York Business.

Employers who would have to provide benefits for the first time would experience the greatest hardship, the study argues, with small businesses and nonprofits shouldering $149 million, or nearly 20% of the annual costs.

Implementation would cost businesses 48 cents per hour per employee, the report says. The bill would require small businesses to give workers five sick days and larger ones to provide nine.

But the sick-day bill's proponents contend that the Partnership's study “uses flawed and unscientific methodology," and offer up new government data that challenge the Partnership report.

“There is a growing sentiment among employers that paid sick leave is the ‘straw' that will break their will to continue to grow or even to operate here,” according to the report.

The study of 708 employers found that only 12% of private sector workers in the city don't get paid sick days—a figure much smaller than the 48% who proponents of the bill say lack such a benefit.

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Written by By Daniel Massey

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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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