Approximately 500,000 more New Yorkers could soon get paid sick leave benefits at work, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are teaming up to fast-track a new sick leave bill that would dramatically expand the old one. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito say they are going to take the city's paid sick leave law and expand it so that 500,000 more New Yorkers can stay home when they are ill and still get a paycheck.
"We've talked a lot about the tale of two cities," de Blasio said. "Our goal is to create one city where everyone can rise together, and this is one of the steps we have to take to make that possible. The time to act is now."
It is the new mayor's first big legislative push, and it is the first time he is teaming up with the new speaker, who he helped in her bid for the job.
"This is the kind of progressive change that can happen when the mayor and City Council share the same priorities and values, values that put working New Yorkers first," Mark-Viverito said.
After years of debate, the City Council passed a bill mandating paid sick last year, but it affected far fewer businesses than many advocates had wanted.
The new legislation would require businesses with five or more employees to provide paid sick leave. The earlier bill only targeted businesses with 15 or more workers.
Manufacturing businesses, which had been exempted from the earlier bill, would have to provide sick leave benefits, and employees would be allowed to use paid sick days to care for grandparents, grandchildren and siblings, as well as immediate family.
De Blasio said he wants the new bill to take take effect on April 1 of this year.
Many business leaders fought the previous legislation, arguing that it would put a strain on their bottom line. Their initial response to the new proposal was fairly measured, though. One industry leader said it was no surprise that the new mayor is pushing this expansion.
There is no specific timetable for introducing the bill in the City Council, but it is expected to move quickly through the legislative body and win approval.