New York City Workers Deserve Paid Sick Days

Friday, January 20, 2012

One and a half million New Yorkers face a terrible dilemma when they or their child become ill. That's because they have no paid sick days. Sherry Leiwant says we need a law to lift a burden that's particularly hard on low-income single moms.

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A Year to Comply

paid sick day protest signsThe bill gives small new businesses a year before they need to comply with the law and makes clear that record-keeping requirements are minimal. It also emphasizes that any type of time off that a business currently provides can be counted as sick time for purposes of the law.

And in case you're wondering what happened to those people mentioned at the start, the ones in the bind about what to do, they shared their stories at hearings already held by the City Council:

The mother of the 2-year-old took her child to the emergency room and stayed with her when she was admitted to the hospital. Although she called her employer and explained the situation, when she went to work the next day armed with a letter from the hospital, she was fired from her job as a bank teller for missing a day of work.

The bartender, fearing she might lose her job, went to work sick despite the threat to her own health and that of the bar's patrons.

The New York City Earned Paid Sick Time Act would insure that no parent ever has to lose her or his job in order to care for a sick child.

It would also insure that workers who are sick need not risk their jobs or a day's pay or spread illness to the general public.


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Sherry Leiwant is co-president and co-founder of a Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, which is helping to lead the coalition pushing for the passage of the New York City Earned Paid Sick Time Act.

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