When last we left New York City mayoral candidate Speaker Christine Quinn she was being booed at a public forum for her stance on paid sick leave. After putting the breaks on the legislation for three years, Quinn has now given in to public pressure and passed a bill to make paid sick days a reality for New Yorker City employees.
As RH Reality check reports the bill co-sponsored by Christine Quinn and Gale Brewer, "will require businesses with 20 or more employees to provide up to five paid sick days for those workers. Sick time will be accumulated at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked — meaning that all employees, part- and full-time, are covered, though it will take longer for part-time workers to accumulate days off. On October 1, 2015, businesses with fewer than 20 but more than 15 employees will also have to provide paid sick days, which Brewer said will cover another 75,000 workers." In response to concerns about enforcement, it was made clear the bill will be administered by the New York City Department of Consumer affairs and workers will have nine months after an infraction to make a complaint.
Barring any significant financial downturn, the bill will go into effect in spring of 2014 and is a testament to the power of labor unions. Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, spoke to MSNBC about the momentum building around this legislation, explaining, "with paid sick days in place in Connecticut, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Portland, Oregon, and coming soon to New York City and, we hope, Philadelphia we may be at the tipping point in the effort to make this humane, common sense policy available to millions more workers."
Advocates for the NYC bill say one million workers will begin to receive benefits next year. As the New York Times reports, even those who work for small companies with too few employees to require paid sick-leave will no longer legally be able to fire their employees for sick-leave.
Though labor unions have been powerful in pushing for this legislation, passing the bill does serve as a pragmatic move for Quinn, as she continues her campaign for mayor. Paid sick leave has been a sticking point for progressives who might otherwise support Christine Quinn in her run for mayor. Feminist Gloria Stein threatened to withdraw her support if Quinn continued to get in the way of a City Council ready to vote the bill into law.
Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to veto the bill, arguing it will hurt small businesses and inhibit job creation but the Council is expected to override the veto.