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De Blasio 2017 Campaign Fined for Employee Violations

Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigns for reelection in 2017.
Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigns for reelection in 2017. Photo: @BilldeBlasio/Twitter

Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed last week to guarantee workers’ compensation and paid family leave nationwide, via his “21st Century Workers’ Bill of Rights,” if he’s elected president.

Yet the standard de Blasio aspires to set nationally is one his previous campaign failed to meet for its own employees.

State records reviewed by THE CITY show de Blasio’s 2017 re-election campaign for mayor was recently fined for violating state workers’ compensation, disability and paid family leave laws.

From June 9, 2016, through Nov. 29, 2017, de Blasio’s mayoral campaign committee failed to provide its workers with disability benefits coverage, according to state Workers’ Compensation Board documents.

After de Blasio’s re-election, his campaign committee failed to provide disability and paid family leave benefits, as well as workers’ compensation coverage, from May 15, 2018, through Aug. 30, 2018, the records show.

New York State’s Paid Family Leave law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Officials at the state Workers’ Compensation Board said no employees were covered by the campaign during the lapses.

“There were no uninsured claims or complaints from employees in this matter,” said Melissa Stewart, a Board spokesperson.

The total penalty for the three separate violations of state law was $6,533 — including $5,000 for the workers’ comp lapse alone.

De Blasio’s mayoral campaign committee settled with the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board on May 17 of this year, reducing the penalties to $1,306.60.

The latest de Blasio 2017 campaign filings submitted to the state Board of Elections show the committee paid that amount to the state Commissioner of Taxation and Finance on June 3, 2019.

Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokesperson for de Blasio’s presidential campaign, said the 2017 committee had elected to settle the “dispute.”

“It was nothing more than a question of calculation, not a refusal to pay workers comp, etc.,” she said.

Raft of Employee Guarantees

De Blasio’s “Workers’ Bill of Rights” proposes a sweeping array of protections, starting with a guarantee that employees can only be fired for proven failure to perform their jobs.

It would assure two weeks’ paid personal time — a benefit the mayor is already pressing to deliver in New York City.

Among other “basic protections” the mayor seeks to establish nationally are workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance for freelancers and independent contractors.

The plan also calls for amending the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which currently provides only for unpaid leave, “to guarantee that workers are paid when they take leave for the birth of a child or to care for themselves or a family member.”

New York State’s Paid Family Leave law provides parents with up to 10 weeks of paid leave after the birth of a child.

The state also requires employers to have workers compensation insurance that provides medical care or cash benefits to an employee who gets injured on the job.

New York is among the few states that require employers to provide disability benefits coverage, in case a worker has an off-duty illness or injury.

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