New Yorkers will soon be able to take five
by Andrew Pavia
Apr 03, 2013 | 1255 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Less than a year ago, Brooklyn supermarket worker Felix Trinidad, 34, died due to complications from stomach cancer. He would have gone to the doctor earlier and more often, but paid sick days weren’t provided.

Instead Trinidad risked his health and life to keep his job, where he was working six days a week to feed his family.

After a long battle on the legislative level, the City Council last week announced that employees like Trinidad won’t have to worry about losing their jobs if they miss work to attend to their health.

According to the proposed legislation, a company that has 15 full-time employees or more would have to provide five compensated sick days a year for workers.

The mandate would not take effect until the spring of 2014, and for the first 18 months it will only apply to business with 20 or more full-time employees.

The bill will be voted on by the City Council, which is likely to approve it. Council Speaker Christine Quinn is so confident it will pass that she even said a mayoral veto won’t stop it.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has criticized the proposal and will likely veto the bill, but Speaker Christine Quinn is confident there is enough support in the City Council to override it.

“While this compromise version of the bill is better than previous iterations, it will still hurt small business and stifle job creation,” Bloomberg said.

In the past, Quinn has been one of the loudest opponents of mandatory paid sick leave, but under growing pressure and with her campaign for mayor underway, came around to supporting a compromise bill that relaxed some of the orginal bill's provision.

“This bill will provide paid sick time and unpaid sick time to over a million workers in New York,” said Quinn. “I’ve always said that I’ve supported the goal of paid sick leave, so the question for me was never a question of if, but only a question of when.”

Quinn said the new legislation will be less burdensome on small businesses.

“No one wants to put more unnecessary fines on mom-and-pop stores,” she said. “That is why that it is so important that the enforcement and administrative provisions of this bill were amended to be fair and not overly burdensome on small businesses.”

In the past, Quinn called for paid sick leave legislation that would only apply to businesses with 50 or more workers.

Under the new legislation, businesses that do not have 15 full-time employees will be required to provide five days of unpaid sick leave annually to their workers.

“We are telling not only New York but the nation that the time is right to take care of one another,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. “The time is right to make it easy for working people to provide for their families.”

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