Another Big Victory for Paid Sick Days

Last week, New York City became the most populous area in the nation to provide paid sick days to employees, an important milestone in efforts to advance workers’ rights.  The legislation, which has had to follow an up-and-down path to final passage, is ultimately expected to affect more than one million workers.

New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act has been in contention since 2009. It finally passed the City Council in May, but was then vetoed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. However, supporters on the Council overrode the veto last week by a vote of 47-4.

Several Public Welfare Foundation grantees, including A Better BalanceMoms Rising and the National Partnership for Women and Families have long made the case for paid sick days in New York City and across the country.

The new law will require businesses in New York City that employ 20 people or more to provide five paid sick days a year starting in April 2014. Businesses with 15-19 employees would have to follow the mandate in 2015. Eventually, one million workers would be covered and companies will be prevented from firing employees for taking unpaid sick days.

New York City now joins San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C. and the state of Connecticut in requiring paid sick leave for at least some workers.

To learn more about the new law, click here.


The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.

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