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New York City Council Expands Paid Sick Days to More Than 350,000 Workers

Photo courtesy Old Sarge on Flickr

The New York City Council overwhelmingly voted to expand a law requiring employers to provide workers with paid sick days, giving more than 350,000 new workers the power to stay home when they are sick and not endanger themselves or customers who patronize the businesses they work for. The legislation, which passed on a 46–5 vote, is expected to be signed by new Mayor Bill de Blasio. Current law requires paid sick days to be offered to workers at businesses with 15 workers or more. The new law would lower that threshold to five workers or more.

In a statement, de Blasio lauded the new legislation:

Under this law, thousands of hardworking New Yorkers will no longer have to choose between taking a sick day or earning a paycheck—and thousands of parents will no longer be forced to pick between caring for a sick child and earning enough to provide for them. From waitresses and dish washers to store clerks and car wash workers, New Yorkers across the five boroughs will finally have legal protection to a basic right that so many of us take for granted each day—and employers will benefit from a stronger and healthier workforce.

The bill would go into effect on April 1 and would provide up to five paid sick days for workers who are sick or who need to take care of sick family members. The new legislation also eliminates an exemption for workers in manufacturing and adds grandparents, grandchildren and siblings to the list of family members workers can take time off to care for. It also expands the statute of limitations on filing complaints from 270 days to three years and gives the enforcement agency the authority to conduct audits and inspections to make sure companies comply with the law.

Vincent Alvarez, president of the New York City Central Labor Council, said:

Today's vote to expand paid sick leave is a victory for the working men and women of our city. As our city continues in this more worker-friendly direction, the central labor council remains committed to working with the mayor, speaker and with our allies in labor, community and government to pass legislation and budgets designed to advance the rights of all of New York City's workers.

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