The NYC Hospitality Alliance opposes Int. 726 because the City should not micromanage how the modern world works. While “disconnecting” is attractive rhetoric, the truth is that New York City never disconnects, which is why our city is the tourism and business capital of the world.
Consider the following example. An event booking manager at catering hall, restaurant, nightlife establishment or hotel is responsible for booking banquets and private events. It is a daytime job, since people who book events call during the day. But the events themselves are almost exclusively at night. The guests show up to the event and insist to the event staff that something is not right. The number of passed hors d'oeuvres is wrong, for example. The staff emails the booking manager to find out what was agreed to, and whether any adjustments can be made to resolve the situation. Under Int. 726, the event manager could not be expected to respond to that email until the next morning, when the event is over. That is simply unacceptable.
Most New York City restaurants and bars are small businesses, and in small businesses, employees wear many hats. The “ten or more employees” threshold will straitjacket small businesses who need the flexibility to address any number of concerns that can arise at any time. Moreover, the bill fails to recognize the distinction between managerial, professional, and other exempt employees, versus non-exempt “9 to 5” staff.
We also find it increasingly intolerable that the Council excludes itself from this type of legislation, particularly since the City government is the largest employer in New York City. If every councilmember considered what their reaction would be if they sent a text or email to their chief of staff at 5:05 pm that is not responded to until 9:30 the next morning, perhaps members would have more empathy for the small business owners that this bill impacts.
We will continue to work with the City Council to address the proposal.