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Mayor de Blasio Proposes Making City First in Nation to Mandate Paid Personal Time

January 9, 2019

State of the City 2019: New law would directly benefit more than 500,000 New Yorkers who currently get no days off

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today proposed that New York City become the first city in the nation to mandate Paid Personal Time for workers. More than 500,000 full- and part-time employees in New York City currently have no paid time off. The Mayor will pursue local legislation that would require private employers with five or more employees to offer 10 annual days of Paid Personal Time, allowing employees to take paid time off for any purpose, including vacation, religious observances, bereavement and time with family. The legislation would guarantee this time for approximately 3.4 million New Yorkers.

“Workers across the nation have been working too hard without enough time to rest and recharge or enough time for family and important life events. Every other major nation recognizes the necessity of Paid Personal Time. We as a country must get there, and New York City will lead the way," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "To be the fairest big city in America, New Yorkers can't be forced to choose between bringing home a paycheck and taking time off to just disconnect or spend time with loved ones – that choice ends with Paid Personal Time. I look forward to working with Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the rest of City Council on this important piece of legislation.”

“Here in United States, we have fewer days off than anywhere else in the world – time that increases productivity and improves mental and physical health,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Here in New York City, we are one of the leading jurisdictions in creating the right to sick leave, which we then expanded last year to broaden the definition of family and to add safe leave for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Today we yet again pave the path towards a new generation of workers’ rights that meet the needs and realities of today’s workforce with the right to paid time off – a win-win for workers, employers and our economy.”

The policy is expected to benefit New Yorkers in a wide range of industries who currently receive no paid personal time, including 180,000 workers in professional services, 90,000 in retail, and 200,000 in the hotel and food service sectors. The City already provides government employees with more than two weeks of Paid Personal Leave per year.

Research has shown that paid-time off helps increase productivity, strengthens families, helps prevent burnout and improves employee retention. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not mandate any paid time off, including paid holidays. Nationally, one in four full-time, middle-income workers gets no paid time off at all.

The Mayor’s proposal calls for a maximum of 10 days of Paid Personal Time per year and covers employers with five or more employees – the same universe of businesses covered by the Mayor’s 2014 legislation expanding Paid Sick Leave. Employees would be able to access the benefit after 120 days of employment. Any unused Paid Personal Time could be carried over to the following year for a total maximum of 10 days of Paid Personal Time. Employers could require up to 2 weeks’ notice and have reasonable exceptions for granting leave to prevent too many workers from taking simultaneous leave. This benefit would be offered in addition to the 5 days of Paid Sick Leave that became law in 2014. Similar to Paid Sick Leave, the de Blasio Administration will work with the City Council to make Paid Personal Time a reality.

New York City’s economy has never been stronger. The City reached 4.5 million jobs for the first time in its history. And over the last year, New York City experienced the lowest unemployment rate since 1976.

“While productivity has increased in recent years, many workers are still left behind lacking basic benefits. This proposal will mean that working people who are the foundation of our city’s economic success have a little more time off to spend with their families, take a vacation or simply recharge. I applaud the Mayor for taking this step and look forward to seeing the legislation move through City Council,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez.

“I commend Mayor de Blasio on today’s announcement implementing paid personal time off for New York City residents,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat. “This is a game changer for residents and families and a true testament to New York City’s vision to put forth policies that put families first. It’s critical that we continue to implement laws that ensure individuals do not have to choose between their jobs and the well-being of their families. Today’s announcement will help employers establish guidelines that will guarantee individuals have paid personal time to care for themselves and their families without penalty.”

"There will be questions we'll need to work out, but all full-time employees deserve a basic minimum of paid time off," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Too often employment becomes a race to the bottom, where employers feel they can't do the right thing while still competing. It's government's job to step in, establish standards, and stop the downward spiral -- with overtime standards, minimum wage laws, safety laws, paid sick days, and now, a minimum of personal days."

“As one of the primary champions of New York State’s Paid Family Leave program, which now provides 10 weeks of paid time off for employees caring for new babies or seriously ill family members, I believe this city proposal deserves strong consideration,” said Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.  “Offering paid personal time off for workers across New York City holds great potential for increasing employee satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity – all of which will benefit our overall economy.”

"Paid personal lead time will help thousands of New Yorkers deal with family issues at critical times. We must always place family first. I am proud that New York City will be the first in the nation to offer this program,” said Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.

“A healthy, well-rested workforce is crucial for any economy, and all New Yorkers deserve time off for religious observances, vacations, and other family functions. I am pleased that the Mayor’s office is working to introduce paid personal time for New Yorkers, so that New Yorkers do not burn out and can spend more time with their families,” said Assembly Member DenDekker.

"It's clear to me that too often, Americans are overworked and undervalued. The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that doesn't guarantee some level of paid leave. That's inexcusable, and it's time to change. It's time to give working people a break- it's time to give them time off," said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. "I thank the Mayor for his support of this essential workers' right, and for agreeing to work with me and my colleagues on the Council to advance legislative solutions that I proposed in 2014, and to build off of and expand upon them. New York City should lead the way on workers' rights, especially amid a national environment that treats those workers less like people and more like a commodity or a talking point."

“Every employee needs and deserves paid time off to address health, family and other fundamental life issues. The fact that so many hard working Americans have no paid leave in 2019 is an absolute travesty. I commend Mayor de Blasio for taking action, and giving a large segment of working New Yorkers the peace of mind and sense of personal dignity this law will provide. This was long overdue and should be considered by local governments across the country,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

"Too many New Yorkers — especially those that work in the retail and service industries — do not have access to paid personal time, which often results in them losing pay because of sickness and family emergencies. Providing employees with this benefit is crucial, as it can increase productivity and improve retention. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the City Council and Mayor de Blasio to make this proposal a reality,” said Council Member Diana Ayala.

“No one should have to choose between attending a special event like a child’s graduation and a paycheck. Paid vacation is the next step in ensuring fairness for all workers —particularly women, younger New Yorkers and people of color who are more likely not to have paid time off,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “This announcement builds upon historic paid sick leave legislation passed by the Council, and I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio to continue our City’s record of putting working people first.”

"This piece of legislation will increase the benefit of working in New York City, while sending a message to working New Yorkers that they are valued. Businesses that want to ensure they retain workers must be open to allowing their workers to take requested time off without fear of lost wages. Kudos to Mayor De Blasio for introducing this needed proposal," said Council Member Andy King.

“I commend the Mayor for introducing a proposal to require 10 days of paid personal time for all New Yorkers who work at businesses with more than five employees -- New York City should leading the country in this,” said Council Member Brad Lander, Deputy Leader for Policy. “Too many workers across the city face a deck stacked against them, including limited or no personal time off, unpredictable schedules, and even hazardous working conditions. This proposal is an important step forward in respecting the dignity of every worker by guaranteeing the paid time off they have earned.

“No one deserves to be penalized for spending time with their family or attending a funeral of a loved one. Paid time off ensures, as employees work longer hours and spend more time away from home, that everyone has the opportunity to disconnect from work and take care of their own health and wellbeing without worrying about putting food on the table,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio for taking this bold step to ensure New York City is putting workers first, and I look forward to the Council helping to make this a reality for all New Yorkers.”

“This new mandate will ensure that employees have the ability to take care of important matters when they arise without the fear of losing out on a paycheck. As the first city in the nation to guarantee paid personal leave, we are setting a precedent for the rest of the nation to follow and leading on advancing workers’ rights,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

“Mayor de Blasio’s plan is true progress in unrigging a system that for too long has benefited the super rich and corporations. Paid personal time off is not just a step in the right direction toward workers’ rights but a real commitment to honoring the dignity of working people,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

“This is an incredible development for the men and women who work hard to keep New York running and to provide for their own families every day. For many low wage workers in particular, paid personal time has been an unobtainable luxury. If they have wanted to take a day off, for any reason, they have been forced to struggle without pay and wonder whether or not their job will be waiting for them when they return,” said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. “Ten paid days off will create much needed stability for working families in our city.”

“Guaranteeing paid time off for working families is long overdue and this is a monumental step towards justice and fairness in New York City. We applaud Mayor de Blasio for his leadership in fighting for workers,” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President, Communications Workers of America, District One.

“For too long working families have had to choose between the paycheck they need to survive and time they need with their family to thrive. We applaud Mayor de Blasio’s call to offer paid time off to the hardworking people of New York City and we hope communities across the country follow suit. All workers should receive paid time off. New York City’s innovation and initiative is good for the city, good for families and good for workers,” said Andrew Friedman, Co-Executive Director at the Center for Popular Democracy.

“U.S. workers are more productive than ever – but aren’t seeing the benefits.  Instead they’re working longer hours and too many can’t afford to take time off for basic life and family needs. The mayor’s historic push would guarantee them paid time off – like every other – like every other developed country does.  A huge share of both working and middle class New Yorkers stand to benefit from this common sense protection,” said Paul Sonn, State Policy Program Director at the National Employment Law Project.

“FPWA applauds Mayor Bill de Blasio for moving to enhance the quality of life and well being for hundreds of thousands of workers by mandating 10 days of paid personal leave for full- and part-time employees”, said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. “This legislation would be the first in the nation, and more importantly, it is another step in the right direction as we strive to achieve a fairer and better standard of living for many of our city’s lowest-wage workers.”

"The members of the Professional Staff Congress applaud the Mayor's proposal to ensure that working people have time away from the job.  One of the labor movement's most important struggles historically has been for workers to have time for themselves and their families.   This initiative would be a custody for all working people." Dr. Barbara Bowen, President of CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress.

"Paid time off is crucial, especially for the lowest wage workers who are least likely to have it. This measure will ensure families have the flexibility they need to deal with everything from doctor's appointments to kid's school meetings to family crises to the need to occasionally decompress and recharge. That's flexibility that some may take for granted, but too many working families in New York simply don't have. On behalf of working families in New York state, we are proud to stand with the Mayor who is leading the nation with this important protection for working people,” said Dahlia McManus, Deputy Director of the NY Working Families Party.

“We at Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights congratulate Mayor Bill de Blasio for his vision in requiring that employers provide 10 days of paid personal time off. Thanks to this vision a working mother does not have to chose between losing a day’s worth of work or attending a milestone event in one of their children’s lives,” said Angela Fernandez, Esq., Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “This will transform the lives of working families in New York City and a model for other cities to follow.”

"New York Communities for Change fought hard for NYC's landmark paid sick days law and this announcement builds on that important foundation,” said Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change. “Providing paid time off for workers will be a huge step forward for hundreds of thousands of working families, many of whom work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. The United States lags far behind other developed countries when it comes to honoring the balance between work and family. NYC is leading the way."

“NMIC fully supports the Mayor’s proposal to provide at least 10 days of paid personal time to all New Yorkers who work at a business with more than 5 employees. When employees get adequate time off, they are more productive, engaged in the workforce and really get to balance their work and family life. This is key to making sure that the workforce is healthy and able to thrive,” said Maria Lizardo, Executive Director of NMIC.

“Workers need time off to care for themselves and their families. A Better Balance applauds Mayor de Blasio for proposing this groundbreaking  addition of personal days to the right to paid sick days as a basic labor right for all working New Yorkers,” said Sherry Leiwant, Co-President of A Better Balance.

"If Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to require employers to provide time off for their employees is approved by the City Council, it will be the first time most restaurant workers in the city will have time to spend with their families and children. This is an extraordinary step forward, especially because 35 percent of restaurant workers are parents who have already had to skip too many of their children's plays, recitals and games because of lack of paid time off. We encourage other cities to adopt similar policies,” said Sekou Siby, Executive Director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

“The Rockefeller Family Fund is proud to support Mayor de Blasio’s push for paid vacation days for workers. Building on the important leadership NYC has shown on fair wages and paid sick days, paid time off continues New York City’s progress building an economy that truly values and benefits families,” said Lisa Guide, Associate Director, Rockefeller Family Fund.

"Mayor de Blasio's plan to guarantee paid personal time off in NYC is a sign of real progress and leadership that understands the struggles facing working people. Time to care for ourselves and others is unfortunately an elite benefit in this country today. I'm excited to see other cities and states make paid time off a reality for everyone who needs it,” said Katie Bethell, Founder and Executive Director of Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US).

“CACF, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, applauds the Mayor for his leadership in supporting workers. As the leaders of an organization, we believe that our staff perform their best when they have time to recharge and refocus. As working parents, we also know that paid personal time off allows us to spend quality time with our children. We thank the Mayor for his commitment to working with the City Council to make New York City the first in the nation to ensure workers have paid personal time off,” said Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung, co-Executive Directors of CACF.

"With this move New York City will be adopting a policy that has long been in place in every other wealthy country in the world. Workers need some period of vacation to spend time with their families, to rest up, and to be better prepared for the rest of the year when they are working. Many employers understand this fact, which is why they already provide paid vacation. This measure ensures that all workers have the opportunity to have some paid time off," said Dean Baker, Co-founder Center for Economic and Policy Research.

“We support Mayor de Blasio’ proposal to mandate at least 10 days of paid personal time for all New Yorkers who work at businesses with more than five employees. We look forward to working with him and the City Council to make sure we make this efforts become a reality in the life of NYC workers,” said Gonzalo Mercado, Director of La Colmena.

"Everybody deserves time to rest, to heal, to provide care and to thrive, to attend kids' school events or a loved one's medical appointment and sometimes to grieve - on top of tending to the details of family survival. The U.S. lags all our economic competitors on this front. Mayor de Blasio's action makes New York City a leader in the U.S. in supporting a healthy and productive workforce,” said Ellen Bravo Co-Director, Family Values @ Work.

“This legislation is desperately needed. Providing ten days paid personal leave is a measure to provide employees with a basic right they deserve. This legislation benefits individuals’ lives and makes New York a better, more enlightened and fairer city,” said Allen Roskoff, President of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.

“Having the right to paid time off means I can be there for my family without worrying about losing a day’s pay or risking my job. I support my two kids and my mother working in retail.  Everyone needs time with their families. It’s exciting this could become a right for all New Yorkers,” said Madilyn Muniz, Sales Associate at Burlinton Coat Factory, leader with Organization United for Respect.

“Thank God we have a Mayor who shows compassion,” said Rev. Marian P. Buckman, Assoc. Pastor, Hollis Avenue Congregational Church.

“This mandated 10 days of paid personal time for NYers is a great step toward helping employees feel valued as human resources and not a machine.  Thank you for pushing for this, Mr. Mayor,” said Rev. Kay Barrett-Layne, Reach Out & Touch Ministries.

"We support the Mayor's path breaking paid leave initiative as a step towards a more humane New York for all people who work here,” said The Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, The Interfaith Center of New York.

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