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Queens Chronicle

2nd piece of sick leave mandate on the agenda

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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:21 am, Thu Feb 27, 2014.

The first step was passing several amendments that had been vetoed by former Mayor Bloomberg last year. That was done earlier this month by an overwhelming margin.

The next step is to pass a new piece of legislation, and once that is done, an estimated 500,000 more workers in New York City will have guaranteed paid sick time, a priority of Mayor de Blasio and the new City Council.

The importance of the measure to de Blasio and the lawmakers is reflected in its designation as Intro-1, marking it as the year’s first new law, once signed by the mayor.

“The fact that Intro-1 covers paid sick leave is significant,” said Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), who chairs the Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “It demonstrates the responsiveness of both the Mayor and City Council in addressing the needs of working people across our city.

“This is a piece of progressive legislation that will enhance the quality of life for working families and enable them to be more productive in the workforce. I am proud to chair the committee as we continue to advance this bill.”

Mandating paid sick leave has been on the Council’s agenda for years. Former Speaker Christine Quinn had held up the bill until it was watered down in deference to the business community, much of which is concerned about its impact on the economy and the bottom line.

The amendments that already passed the full Council, along with Intro-1, drop those compromises. Intro-1 was the subject of a Feb. 14 hearing before Miller’s committee, at which some members of the business community voiced their objections to the measure. No date has been set for a committee vote yet, according to Miller aide Ali Rasoulinejad.

The bill would require all companies with five or more employees to give their workers at least five paid sick days a year, and would take effect April 1. Employees could take the time off to care for themselves, or for close relatives who are ill.

While the version passed last year had clauses exempting the manufacturing sector and putting the mandate on hold if the economy weakens, Intro-1 would drop those components. It also would expand the law to smaller firms, as the old version only applied to those with at least 15 workers.

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