New York City Overrides Veto on Paid Sick Days
3:00 pm, June 27th | by Colette McIntyre
Yesterday, all our paid sick days seemed so far away: Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that blocked local governments from implementing paid sick leave and we weren’t about it. Earlier today, hope returned, breaking through The Hater Corral like a ray of light through a storm cloud! New York City lawmakers overrode a mayoral veto early Thursday morning, making it the most populous city in the country to require that businesses give workers paid time off. The new law is projected to affect more than 1 million workers and their families.
Worker’s rights advocates hope that New York will serve as a pace-setter and inspire other cities to adopt paid sick leave. “The catalyst will have been the successful struggle we waged here in New York City,” Dan Cantor, the national executive director of the Working Families Party, told the AP. New York joins Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut in mandating paid sick-leave for most workers. The Working Families Party and other groups are currently pushing similar measures in Maryland, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
While the new law is a major step forward, there are a number of significant limitations built into the legislation, narrowing the benefits’ scope. Starting in April 2014, only employees of businesses with 20 or more workers will acquire five paid sick days a year; businesses with 15 to 19 workers must wait an additional year and a half. All other businesses are required to provide five unpaid sick days per year, which means that employees can’t get fired for using those allotted days. All new requirements could be postponed if the city suffers an economic blow.
Sure, there are some conditions and the law isn’t ideal, but ensuring that workers don’t have to choose between their physical and financial health? That’s a major win.