City Council passes paid sick leave bill

May 8, 2013 Terence Cullen
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City legislators voted today to rectify the New York’s policy on paid sick leave, and now have enough support to override a veto from the mayor’s office.

Councilmembers voted 45-3 on the bill that would require businesses with 20 or more employees to give at least five paid sick days per worker beginning next April. Starting in October 2015, businesses with 15 or more workers will have to do the same.

The bill also guarantees unpaid sick days to all New York workers, despite the size of their company or business.

You can read the bill here, or a summary here.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, joined councilmembers in helping to broker the deal in its current incarnation, after opposing the parameters originally put forth.

Among those who have long supported paid sick leave was Manhattan Councilmember Gale A. Brewer, who began pushing for the law in 2010.

Councilmember Brad Lander agreed, stating that the Earned Sick Time Act “will make our city a fairer, more compassionate place to live and work.”

“A few days will make a difference for real people.” said Lander, who represents parts of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington. “New Yorkers like Emilio Palaguachi, who lost his job when he took a sick day. Or Martin Gonzalez, who had to choose between taking care of his health and his paycheck.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly promised to veto the bill when it comes across his desk, saying it will kill small businesses across the city.

Private sector jobs were up to one of the highest numbers in the city’s history, the mayor announced during his budget address last week. In response to the bill passing, however, Bloomberg alleged the bill would back track economic development.

The bill could cost employers other employees or other benefits as they’ll have to allocate more money toward the paid sick days.

However, Quinn, announcing the agreement between councilmembers and labor leaders in March, said the current bill is more of a balance for workers and proprietors. The bill will also be put on hold if the city’s economy takes a downturn in the time in between.

Reporting contributed by Heather J. Chin.

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