Coming to a Borough Near You… Sick Pay for NYC’s Workers!

As we enter into our second “polar vortex” it is nearly impossible not to feel the chill in one’s chest. And sometimes that chill leads to something worse and all you want is chicken noodle soup and a day in bed… except you can’t possibly afford a day off

With the help of our new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, now you can have your chicken noodle soup and eat it too.

Last year the NYC Earned Sick Time Act was passed. On April 1, 2014, the legislation will go into effect and over a million NYC workers will finally receive paid sick leave to care for themselves or their loved ones.

Though this is a large step in the right direction, as usual, nothing is perfect. Sherry Leiwant, Co-President of A Better Balance was quoted in the New York Times stating that “some manufacturing workers were excluded, and many employees of small businesses would only receive unpaid sick time under the law.”

Mayor de Blasio is sending a bill to the City Council to fix that though. If passed, the bill will reach the previously excluded workers. According to A Better Balance, “the workers employed by businesses with 5 or more employees will be able to earn up to 5 days of paid sick time, while workers in smaller businesses will receive up to 5 days of unpaid sick time to care for themselves or an ill loved one.”

This is huge for New York City, who is following on the coattails of Connecticut who in 2011, the first state to make a law stating that all employees, even part time ones, would get sick pay. After a a year and a half, researchers Eileen Appelbaum of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and Ruth Milkman, a professor at CUNY, surveyed more than 250 employers and it was discovered that the overall effect was extremely positive.

They found that overall there were no, or only minimal cost increases. Only 10% stated that their costs increased by 3% or more due to the law. Other findings included that productivity increased 14.9% (because no one works well when they are sick). According to the employers, morale, motivation and loyalty increased among employees, and the employers reported little abuse of the system, with the findings stating that About two-thirds of eligible workers used paid sick days, with an average of only four days used per year.

If Connecticut can do it, why can’t we? They have a proven track record of success that we New Yorkers will be happy to follow- hopefully setting a standard for others states to soon adopt as well.