Mayor Bill de Blasio championed an expansion of the city's paid sick leave law during a public hearing Monday.
"This is truly a historic day for New York City. This day earns that title," de Blasio said at at the hearing, held in City Hall's Blue Room. "Half a million more people will have paid sick leave when they need it."
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The bill, passed by City Council last month, would require businesses with five or more employees to give five days of paid sick off a year. De Blasio said he plans to sign the expansion into law later this week.
With most speakers supporting the expansion, the public hearing resembled a political rally on the steps of City Hall.
Through a translator, Guillermo Serna, a Queens resident who has worked as a janitor for the past 14 years, said he has never had paid sick days. Serna said he went to work many times even when he felt ill.
"With a family to take care of, I just cannot lose a full day of work," he said.
Khristan Heagle, who said she represented city businesses at of Rothermel Jacobs & Schess LLP,was the only speaker who raised questions about the bill.
Among other concerns, Heagle said her clients wondered if the law would apply to telecommuters based outside the city.
"The truth is, we have many questions," she said.
When signed, the expansion would go into effect in April.
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