Paid Sick Leave Passes New York City Council

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NEW YORK—The gloomy weather couldn’t keep the paid sick leave advocates from celebrating the passage of the bill they fought for, for nearly four years.

“They say rain on your wedding day is good luck, so rain on the passage of the paid sick leave bill is good luck for the future of workers in the City of New York,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.

The estimated 1 million workers anticipating paid sick leave will need a little luck on their side before getting the benefits from the new law. As part of the agreement between labor and business, a reverse trigger was placed in the bill, a way to ensure the economy can sustain it.

The city will use a measure from the New York City Coincident Economic Index published by the Federal Reserve Bank. They will use January 2012 as a benchmark and compare it with December 2013. If economic conditions are at or better than the benchmark, the law will go into effect on April 1, 2014, for businesses with 20 or more employees. Those employees will receive 40 hours of paid sick leave each.

Businesses with 15 or more employees will need to comply with the law by October 2015.

Quinn said the manufacturing industry will be exempt because it is still struggling from the economic downturn.

Quinn said she would like to see similar legislation passed at the state and federal levels to help level the playing field with bordering counties.

“I hope New York City taking this action will get other jurisdictions to think about what actions they should take,” Quinn said.

She cited as an example the city’s recent proposal to raise the cigarette purchasing age to 21, and the state proposing similar legislation soon after.

The Department of Consumer Affairs will monitor paid sick leave for the city.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to veto the bill, however, Quinn says she has enough votes to override the veto and the council plans to do so.


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