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NYC Paid Sick Leave Law Passes Despite Bloomberg Veto

July 10, 2013

An estimated 1 million workers in New York City — including several thousand direct-care workers — will be eligible to earn up to five days of paid sick leave per year, and will have job protection for up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave.

By a 45-3 vote, the City Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act into law on May 8. It was vetoed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), but the City Council overrode the veto on June 27.

Under the terms of the law, employers will have to offer one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works, with a cap of 40 hours — or five days available sick days — per year. 

Compliance is mandatory for businesses with 20 or more employees beginning next April. The requirement will be extended to employers with 15 or more employees in October 2015.

Additionally, employees who work for small businesses that employ fewer than 15 workers will have protection when taking unpaid sick leave.

The Earned Sick Time Act applies to part-time and temporary workers as well as those working full-time. Manufacturing businesses are exempt from the law, and the sick-leave requirement can be waived if the city’s overall economy falters.

Effect on Direct-Care Workforce

Many of New York City’s 194,820 direct-care workers stand to benefit from the Earned Sick Time Act.

“Though many of New York City’s direct-care workers are employed by companies or organizations that are unionized and are therefore covered under their collective bargaining agreements, there are direct-care workers who are employed by companies that do not extend sick leave,” said PHI New York Policy Director Carol Rodat. “The Earned Sick Time Act will greatly help workers in the latter group.”

New York becomes the fifth major city — along with Seattle; San Francisco; Washington, DC; and Portland, Oregon — to mandate paid sick time. Connecticut passed a law requiring paid sick leave for service-sector workers in 2011. 

Despite opposition from Bloomberg and many in the business community, ample evidence suggests that employers benefit when they guarantee their workers paid sick leave.

— by Matthew Ozga

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