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Mayor de Blasio Announces Major Expansion of Paid Sick Leave in New York City

January 17, 2014

Mayor pledges ‘one city’ where everyone rises together, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members pledge to move aggressively on legislation

500,000 more New Yorkers to secure the right to paid sick leave

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NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a sweeping expansion of paid sick leave, pledging it would be the first in a series of reforms to lift up hardworking New Yorkers and forge one city where everyone rises together. The Mayor put forward new legislation that will expand the right to paid sick leave to approximately 500,000 more New Yorkers -- 200,000 of whom do not currently have paid sick days. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, joined by dozens of Council Members, promised to move quickly to bring the legislation to the Council floor and see it passed into law.

“This is going to be one city, where everyone has a shot and rises together,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “What we are putting forward today will fundamentally improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of working New Yorkers—especially families struggling just to get by. Beginning this year, getting sick will no longer mean losing a day’s pay, or potentially a job, in the city of New York. I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Members and the vast coalition that has helped bring us to this moment.”

“It’s time for our laws to live up to our values. This is a new day for New York City, and we are going to use every tool we have to make life better for working people,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We are going to make sure that no one is thrown into crisis and insecurity just because they get sick. This is the culmination of a movement and coalition that has put the rights and needs of families at the center of our agenda. The City Council is going to work in partnership with the Mayor to seize this moment.”

The expanded paid sick leave legislation will:

  • Extend the right to paid sick leave to all workers at businesses with five or more employees, encompassing those left out of the current legislation that applies to businesses of 15 or more workers. That will cover an additional 355,000 New Yorkers – more than 200,000 of whom we know currently do not receive paid sick leave.
  • Eliminate the phase-in, which would have delayed coverage to workers at businesses between 15 and 20 workers. This means 140,000 people who would have waited until mid-2015 under the existing bill will have coverage this April. Eighty-five thousand of those workers do not currently have a single paid sick day.
  • Remove exemptions for the manufacturing sector, extending paid sick leave coverage to 76,000 workers, half of whom don’t currently have any paid sick days.
  • Add grandparents, grandchildren and siblings to the definition of family members workers can legally care for using paid sick time.
  • Eliminate the economic trigger that could have delayed implementation of paid sick leave based on certain economic benchmarks.


“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, we are making paid sick leave a priority, and giving a lifeline to more than 500,000 of our neighbors. By expanding paid sick leave, the administration is making due on its promise to help working New Yorkers, too many of whom must decide between a day’s salary and their health and well-being,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

“I stand with Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and a citywide coalition of advocates in support of an expansion of our paid sick leave law in New York City. Our economy depends on a healthy, productive workforce, and we deal a setback to working people when we force them to choose between taking care of loved ones or holding onto a job. The expansion of our current law to include paid sick leave for businesses with five or more workers will help ensure that more New Yorkers receive this basic protection,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer.

“I worked for three years with colleagues and advocates to pass a Paid Sick Leave Law, and I’m pleased it is being expanded to include more workers. Employees who have time off to take care of their health needs or those of a family member are better workers and enhance the entire work environment. Paid Sick Days legislation also means that fewer workers will use emergency rooms and instead will visit a primary care doctor, saving millions in taxpayer dollars,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

“Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito are ushering in a new progressive era by reinvigorating our social safety net. This expansion of paid sick days will strengthen our workforce, our small businesses, and most of all, our families,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Ranking Member on House Small Business Services Committee.

“New York is leading the way and America is watching. The Mayor’s work to extend paid sick leave to even more New Yorkers will benefit our economy and vastly improve the lives of working people in our great city,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Representing New York’s 12 District. “It is a victory for the 1.65 million New Yorkers who currently lack the ability to take a day off when they get sick, simply because they can’t afford to lose a day’s pay. For over 20 years I’ve worked to extend these rights at the federal level, and I’m going to continue fighting until paid sick leave is a right for every American.”

“I am proud to stand with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in supporting the expansion of paid sick leave. New York City is the greatest city on earth and the vast economic inequalities that exist here are simply unacceptable. Expanding the paid sick leave requirement is a crucial step toward that addressing that problem,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10).

“I have lived and worked in this country for nine years. In all that time, I’ve never once had a job that provided paid sick days. With four kids to support, I can’t afford a day off, even when I’m sick. That meant going to work with a fever and with the flu. But all that will change with this new law. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council for expanding the paid sick days law and making it one of their first priorities,” said Leonardo Hernando, a car-wash worker in Queens who will have paid sick days under the legislation announced today.

“The New York City Paid Sick Days Coalition applauds Mayor de Blasio for proposing amendments to the recently passed Earned Sick Time Act that will provide paid sick days on April 1, 2014 to 500,000 workers not covered by the original bill. We are delighted that the bill has been expanded, and that the Mayor recognizes how important it is that New York City workers have access to paid sick days,” said Javier H. Valdes, Executive Director of Make the Road NY.