In a 47-4 vote, the City Council enacted the New York City Earned Sick Time Act Thursday, overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the legislation.
The bill will eventually give paid sick leave to approximately one million New York employees who do not currently have it, and will protect them from being fired for taking a day off when they or their family members are ill.
“I was fired earlier this year when I got the flu and I took one sick day off. I have four children and it was very difficult to be out of work and have no way to support my family,” Emilio Palaguachi, a member of Make the Road New York and an Elmhurst resident said in a statement. “I’m so happy to know that, once this law goes into effect, what happened to me will not happen to any other worker in New York City.
Beginning next April, businesses with 20 or more employees will be required to give at least five paid sick days per worker. Starting in October 2015, businesses with 15 or more workers will have to do the same.
After opposing the original bill, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn helped broker a new deal and the Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act 45-3 on May 8.
“New York has traditionally been at the forefront of creating safe, fair working conditions for its people and I am proud for my colleagues to join me today in confirming this legacy,” said Councilmember Gale Brewer, the bill’s lead sponsor.
“This will greatly enhance the quality of life for the hundreds of immigrants and hard-working single mothers living and working in my district and throughout the city,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.
New York joins several other cities across the country in adopting sick time policy, including Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, according to Make the Road New York.