NYC Earned Sick Days, Testimony by Carolyn Sevos, NAWBO-NYC

Testimony by Carolyn Sevos, VP of Public Policy for NAWBO-NYC

Public Hearing, June 5th, 2007

Legislative Office Building Hearing Room B

Subject: Paid Family Leave

I am Carolyn Sevos, the VP of Public Policy for NAWBO-NYC, the National Association of Women Business Owners. NAWBO is a national association, the largest collective voice of business owners in the US. We represent all trades. In NYC, women business owners account for nearly 300,000 women owned business and generate 65 billion in sales.

NAWBO NYC strongly supports the NY Time to Care Act. As the California law has shown, the extension of the family leave insurance program to include paid leave for employees to manage an illness—their own or for a family member—has been positive.

I can speak from my experience as a small business owner. I have a technology company, IntraCommunities, Inc.  (ICI) that puts together ecommerce systems and interactive community websites as well as runs an ISP. I have three employees and work with freelance programmers and designers.

When I told my staff where I would be speaking this morning, they were thrilled. Especially, one of my staff who recently took time off after his baby was born. It is not quite a year and now he still works from home and is one of the most productive people I know.

As a small business owner, I am most affected by increased taxes and insurance costs. I even hate jury duty. I demand a lot of my staff, but in the face of family crisis or health issue, it is impossible to expect anyone to work or to be productive. Sometimes we need the time to manage our personal lives. And, ultimately, what we are talking about here, and what is my most important commodity is employee loyalty.

Even Deloitte, a large company, estimates saving $41.5 million a year in productivity through the flexibility of their work programs.

Family crisis and health issues are facts of life and do impact my bottom line with or without insurance. The insurance that has been set forth in this law is actually a beneficial safety net for me. For me, high turn over is harmful.

New workers whether temporary or full time require training in our methods and procedures. Security is paramount for us and high turnover is a recipe for disaster. I need to make it possible to keep my staff though the bad times along with the good.

There are minimum standards required for a healthy and safe workplace. In my opinion the US has fallen behind in recent decades and both work and families are suffering.

Finding a way to help workers during family crisis is not a maybe, but a necessity. The challenge is finding the ratio of how far an employer can go to help its employees and maintain profitability.

I think that the New York Time to Care Act achieves this delicate balance.

Carolyn Sevos
President/CEO IntraCommunities, Inc.
VP Public Policy NAWBO NYC

Source: Time to Care NY.