Thousands of New Yorkers now eligible for paid sick days

Members of Make the Road New York after the passage of the original paid sick leave law in 2013. Mayor Bill de Blasio's expanded version of the law went into effect April 1.  Credit: William Alatriste/NYC Council
Members of Make the Road New York after the passage of the original paid sick leave law in 2013. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s expanded version of the law went into effect April 1.
Credit: William Alatriste/NYC Council

Less than two weeks after it was signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, an expanded law making hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers eligible for paid time off went into effect Tuesday.

Enforcement of the law falls to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, which rolled out an outreach campaign to Tuesday almost 1 million workers in the city who are now eligible for paid time off.

The law applies to both part- and full-time employees, as well as any undocumented workers, who works more than 80 hours per calendar year.

Depending on how much time the employee accrues, any business with five or more workers is required to give their employees up to five days off at their hourly pay rate. Employers with fewer than 19 employees get a six-month grace period before they’re subject to penalties.

But the law also applies to New Yorkers who can’t get paid time sick days. Businesses with less than five employees still need to offer up to 40 hours of unpaid time off, protecting employees from being fired for taking a sick day.

To help with the city’s outreach efforts, Consumer Affairs recently relaunched their website portal for all things related to the new law.

While employers are required by the law to provide the information to their workers, visitors to the site can access a comprehensive list of their rights to time off to take care of their or a family members’ illness.

Employees can also file complaints against negligent bosses with Consumer Affairs through the agency website or by calling 311.

A host of City Council members went around their districts today to give their constituents a heads up about the new law, which Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said ends New Yorkers having to pick between “caring for their loved ones and putting food on the table.”

Mark-Viverito helped fast-track de Blasio’s expanded version of the law that the Council failed to pass after three years of limbo. The previous Council passed a compromised version of the bill last spring, which didn’t cover approximately 500,000 workers now eligible under the new law.

“Today is the start of a new era for nearly one million working people in New York City and I thank my Council colleagues and the de Blasio Administration for making paid sick days a reality in our city and proving that our laws can live up to our values,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria


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