Under the newly passed legislation, set to go in effect on April 1, small businesses and manufacturers with five or more employees will now be obligated to provide up to 40 hours of paid time off to employees who work more than 80 hours each year, however companies with 19 or fewer employees will not be fined for the first six months.
According to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), employers with less than five employees are now required to provide unpaid sick time.
“In a perfect world, these are the kind of things our federal government would've taken on a long time ago,” de Blasio said surrounded by numerous members of the City Council and advocacy groups. “This is the sort of thing that should be a given in our society - an ever more complex society, people working longer and longer hours, all sorts of family configurations.”
De Blasio recognized the work from advocacy groups like the Better Balance Coalition, the Paid Sick Days Coalition, the Restaurants Opportunities Center of New York and Make the Road New York for their work towards the expansion for nearly 530,000 more city workers.
He added that while fines will be implemented to all businesses within the next six months, the city plans an educational outreach campaign to inform business owners of the changes.
“I've been very critical of some of the efforts in the past to find businesses, without an honest effort, to explain to them what they had to do, or have an arbitrary approach to enforcement that wasn't about education first,” he said. “We really believe in education first, so there is that six-month period for the businesses to get used to the law, to ask their questions, to get ready.”
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito looked towards what she hopes is a new vision for city policy.
“We’ve been fighting for a comprehensive paid sick leave bill for some time now,” Mark-Viverito reflected. “And today we get to see the realization of all the hard work of organizers and advocates across the city.”
Alba Pico, first deputy commissioner for DCA, announced the city would begin a “big campaign in the subways and in the buses” beginning on March 31.
“We're ready, and many businesses are ready now,” Pico said. “And, as Mr. Mayor mentioned, education is our first goal.”
DCA Deputy Commissioner Maria Tepper added that any employees who wish to make a complaint of non-compliant employers should call 311 to initiate a review from the city.
“We hope we will be as successful as the other jurisdictions who have already enacted this law,” Tepper said. “And we are confident that we will be able to help both the employees and businesses.”