Municipal Government

Biz Still Needs Clarity on Paid Sick Law

Gale Brewer first introduced paid sick time in 2009.

Gale Brewer first introduced paid sick time in 2009.

March 18, 2014
By Marc Bussanich

New York, NY—Expansion of the paid sick law takes effect in two weeks. The sponsor of the original bill, Gale Brewer, said there are no outstanding issues as the implementation date nears, but an attorney representing city businesses said at City Hall the business community still has unanswered questions. Video 

Former councilmember and now Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer, first introduced paid sick time legislation in 2009.

Last year, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn finally allowed the legislation to come up for a vote after a compromise. When that legislation passed in May 2013, it exempted smaller firms from the rules to apply only to companies with 20 employees and to those with 15 employees starting in 2015.

But with a new mayor, Bill de Blasio, and city council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, the city council passed an expansion of the legislation. The new law, set to take effect on April 1, 2014, will require businesses with five or more employees to provide up to five paid days off a year if an employees or their relatives become ill.

Speaking from the City Hall’s blue room, the mayor said Monday was history in the making.

“This is truly a historic day for New York City. This day earns that title. Half a million more people will have paid sick leave when they need it.”

Low-wage workers who will directly benefit from the new bill also had the opportunity to speak.

Mauricio Jiminez, a janitor who’s worked 11 years with a company that didn’t give her paid sick time off, thanked the mayor and the city council for their efforts.

“I believe that all workers, no matter how big a company is, should take a day off when sick,” Jiminez said.

Also speaking was an attorney for the law firm Klein, Zelman, Rothermel, Jacobs & Schess. Khristan Heagle noted many businesses still require additional information to comply with the new law.

“It is unclear to us how this law will apply to those working inside and outside the city. For example, if an employee splits her time working on Long Island and the city, which hours count towards the accrual of her sick time?” said Heagle.

Heagle also noted businesses need clarity on workers telecommuting from home, say, in Westchester, for a company in the city; whether new businesses in their first year of operation are required to comply; whether the law is applicable when a collective agreement is in effect; and whether in the event there is any conflict with state or federal law does state and/or federal law supersede the paid sick law.

Follow Marc on Twittermarc@laborpress.org  

March 17, 2014

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