“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,” said the mayor, thanking Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her role in pushing the expansion forward. “Beginning this year, getting sick will no longer mean losing a day’s pay, or potentially a job, in the city of New York.”
The expansion promises the right to paid sick leave to the roughly 355,000 workers in the city who are employed by companies with five employees or less, 200,000 of which have not previously been afforded paid leave.
It also eliminates phase-in delays for workers at businesses employing 15-20 workers, removes exemptions from the manufacturing sector and adds grandparents, grandchildren and siblings to the definition of family members that workers can legally care for using paid sick leave.
Mark-Viverito sees the expansion as a glimpse of the change to come.
“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 Mark-Viverito. “We are going to make sure that no one is thrown into crisis and insecurity just because they get sick.
In a supportive statement released later in the day, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney highlighted the economic and social benefits of paid sick leave.
“(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 Maloney. “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.”
Councilman Rory Lancman, who is also supportive of the proposal, said he is hopeful that the legislation would quickly pass through the legislative process.
"No New Yorker should lose their job because of an illness, or have to report to work sick and infect their co-workers for fear of being fired,” Lancman said. “That's why we need to expand the Paid Sick Leave law as soon as possible."