Skip to main content

New York City Council on the Verge of Mandating Paid Sick Leave

By Michael S. Arnold

Here we go again.  Fresh off its passage of a law prohibiting unemployment discrimination, the New York City Council is now poised to pass a law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  If passed, the law would likely affect more than 1 million New York City workers who do not currently receive this type of benefit. 

As of this writing, we have not seen the final details of the agreed-upon version of the bill but according to breaking news reports, it would not go into effect until April 2014, and may not go into effect at all if New York City’s economy falters to a certain extent before that time.  If implemented, the law will, for the first 18 months, require employers with 20 or more employees to provide those employees with at least five days of paid sick leave each year.  Thereafter, it would apply to employers with 15 or more employees.  Smaller employers would also be required to provide sick leave, but it would be unpaid.  Whether paid or unpaid, the law would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for utilizing sick time. 

Supporters have hailed the measure, arguing that it allows sick workers to stay at home without the fear of losing their job.  Opponents say that it would be too costly to employers.  Mayor Bloomberg will likely veto it, but as with the unemployment discrimination law, the Council likely has enough support from its members to override any veto.

If passed, New York City would join Connecticut, Washington D.C., Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco as the only jurisdictions with paid sick leave laws.  Philadelphia recently passed a similar law, but it has not yet been signed by its Mayor, who has not indicated whether he will sign.  Similar measures have been introduced in other jurisdictions such as Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington State. 

We’ll be back with more as soon as we get the final details on this new law.

Subscribe To Viewpoints


Martha Zackin