New York City Council Passes Bill Forcing Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave

By:  Bob Adelmann
New York City Council Passes Bill Forcing Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave

The "progressives" on New York City's city council passed its Earned Sick Time Act, which forces employers to pay for paid sick days for their employees.

On Wednesday the New York City Council voted 45-3 to pass the New York City Earned Sick Time Act, a bill that will require employers with more than 20 employees to provide five paid sick days to each of them every year while mandating that those employees using their sick days can’t be fired. The law would become effective on January 1, 2014, and companies with more than 15 employees would be required to comply with the law starting in 2015.

Even if Mayor Bloomberg vetoes the bill, the council will likely override it, making the law effective anyway. This will impact the employers of more than one million employees who currently have no paid sick days provided for them. The costs to be borne by those employers weren't provided in any public announcements.

The AFL/CIO explained why such legislation was needed:

In addition to the potential loss of wages for working families, the lack of paid sick days forces many people to go to work when they are contagious and [make] co-workers and customers sick.

No paid sick time also decreases [the] productivity for workers who show up unable to perform to their normal level of ability.

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) was joyous over the vote, calling it “a historic agreement to give over one million New Yorkers the right to take paid days off from work to care for themselves or a sick family member. The new legislation represents a major step forward for workers’ rights.” The CPD was joined by Make the Road New York; 32 BJ SEIU, the largest property service workers union; NYC City Council’s Progressive Caucus; the Working Families Party; A Better Balance; and the NY Paid Sick Leave Coalition.

Bill Lipton of the Working Families Party was equally ecstatic: "This is a sweet victory. It provides economic security for New Yorkers, and a shot in the arm for the paid sick days movement across the country."

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