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Queens Chronicle

Sick leave bill passes; mayor eager to sign it

Gives a six-month break to smallest firms

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Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 12:34 pm, Thu Mar 6, 2014.

An estimated 500,000 people who work in the city and never before had guaranteed paid sick leave soon will, as the City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill mandating that their employers provide it.

Mayor de Blasio, who had championed the measure, the Earned Sick Time Leave Act, quickly issued a statement saying the Council had made history by passing it. The bill was designated Intro-1, the first new law of the year, reflecting its value to the mayor and the Council majority. It passed 46-5.

“Under this law, thousands of hardworking New Yorkers will no longer have to choose between taking a sick day or earning a paycheck — and thousands of parents will no longer be forced to pick between caring for a sick child and earning enough to provide for them,” de Blasio said.

The law requires all companies in the city with five or more workers to give full-timers at least five days of paid sick leave annually. It will take effect April 1.

Companies with fewer than 20 employees, however, will get a grace period during which they will not be fined for violations of the law during the first six months.

The new law will replace a version passed last year over former Mayor Bloomberg’s veto. It expands on the first incarnation in several ways, including:

• impacting companies with five workers, as opposed to 15 in the original;

• removing an exemption for the manufacturing sector;

• removing a provision delaying the mandate if the economy weakens; and

• adding grandparents, grandchildren and siblings to the list of relatives someone can take time off to care for, as well as the original’s spouses, children and parents.

“No family member should ever have to face the choice between caring for a loved one or keeping a paycheck,” said Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), chairman of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “Parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and all members of a household should be able to support one another in times of illness.”

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