Paid sick leave coming to New York City

A man holds a sign at a rally in front of City Hall to show support for a paid sick leave bill, a day after New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced that lawmakers and advocates reached a deal on the legislation March 29, 2013.

New York's City Council has approved a bill requiring employers with 15 or more employees to offer five paid sick days per year to their employees. The bill, passed by a veto-proof majority, is the latest in a series of cities to take up the idea.

New York City Unions and labor advocates like Nancy Rankin -- with New York’s Community Service Society -- have been trying to pass this for years. 

“I think it’s a great victory for all New Yorkers but particularly for those who most often lack paid sick days now, which are low wage workers, especially Latinos and low-income working moms," Rankin says. 

Business groups supported the idea only after it was limited to businesses with 15 or more workers. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he will veto the measure, arguing it would make New York less competitive.

But "this may well be a trend that may spread throughout the rest of the country," says Bernie Baumohl with The Economic Outlook Group. He says businesses may prefer this in the current economy.

“Companies are doing a lot of things to boost productivity of their workers and get around the picture of having to increase wages,” Baumohl says. 

Similar measures have been approved in San Francisco and Seattle, others are pending in Maryland, Vermont, Oregon, and Washington state. 

About the author

Sabri Ben-Achour is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the New York City bureau. He covers Wall Street, finance, and anything New York and money related.

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