De Blasio announces paid sick leave

March 25, 2014

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An additional half-million New Yorkers are eligible for paid sick leave with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signing of the Earned Sick Time Act on March 20. The law, an amended version of last year’s legislation, requires businesses with five or more employees to provide paid sick time for all employees in New York City.

The new law lowers the threshold for paid sick time from 15 to five employees and includes the manufacturing sectors of business, which were previously excluded. The law also modifies the definition of a family to include grandparents, grandchildren and siblings. This allows employees to take sick time in order to care for those considered family under the act. The law also eliminates the phase-in process of existing legislature and removes economic markers that would impede the law’s implementation.

CAS junior Faye Chou works as a part-time employee for a small business in Manhattan, and she will be eligible for paid sick leave due to de Blasio’s new legislation.

“The new policies mean I no longer have to worry about the cost to me when I am sick,” Chou said, explaining that before this law, she would go to work even if she was sick.  “This caused me to be unproductive at work and usually prolonged my sickness,” Chou said.

Steinhardt sophomore Amanda Esteves said many of her former co-workers will benefit from the law.

“A lot of people worked… full time and would rely on those wages entirely to survive by the month,” Esteves said. “Sometimes people came in trying to hide the fact they were sick because they couldn’t afford to miss a day at work.”

All employees, including part-time and temporary workers, are eligible for paid sick leave. A total of more than 2 million New Yorkers should benefit from the new law, which takes effect April 1. The bill allows for every worker to earn up to 40 hours of sick leave a year. Employees earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.

“We’ve made it our mission to lift up working families and raise the wage and benefit floor for all New Yorkers,” de Blasio said at the signing. “This law is the first of many steps we are taking to fundamentally address inequality in this city.”

The Earned Sick Time Act is similar to other efforts in major cities around the country, which aim to provide more employees with paid sick leave.

Chou said the policy will motivate employees in New York City, since any sickness or injury will not financially set them back.

“We are all motivated to work even harder because we will always be at our best,” Chou said.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday March 25 print edition. Additional reporting by Scott Mullen. Marilyn La Jeunesse is a contributing writer. Email them at news@nyunews.com.  

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