Many New Yorkers Go Without Paid Sick Leave [Updated]
October 15th, 2009

If New Yorkers show symptoms of H1N1, or swine flu, they are first advised to avoid contact with others. Next, they are told to stay home from work. But a growing chorus of elected officials and activists are trying to make sure people don’t need to decide between paying rent and spreading the virus. And according to a new report, quite a few might have to make that choice.

Nearly half of New Yorkers have no paid sick leave at their job, a new study by the Community Service Society and A Better Balance finds. And the number has been rising: 48 percent did not have the leave this year compared to 42 percent last year. Latino workers are most likely to go without, 72 percent of whom lack the leave. [Read the study here.]

Last year, another study found that 52 percent of low-income working mothers had no sick leave.

Councilmember Gale Brewer, lead sponsor of a bill to mandate paid sick leave, said. “This report shows that by making paid sick days a basic workplace standard, all employees – regardless of their income level – can care for themselves and their families when they get sick, instead of putting public health at risk.”


The bill requires employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked by an employee. The employer is not required to provide more than 72 hours a year, and small businesses need not offer more than 40 hours.

San Francisco, Washington and Milwaukee have passed similar legislation and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has voiced support for such a measure.

The state legislature is currently considering a bill that would mandate up to five days of sick leave at businesses with under 10 employees and up to 10 days for those that employ more than 10 people. “Employees lacking paid sick time have a strong disincentive to take necessary time off to treat H1N1 illness,” a recent preliminary report by the Assembly Subcommittee on Workplace Safety stated. “Indeed, they may even lose their jobs for taking unpaid sick leave. Employment policies that encourage employees to come to work sick greatly increase the likelihood of H1N1 spreading in the workplace, and should be strongly disfavored.”

By on October 15, 2009, 6:01 pm
In category: Albany,Health | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Many New Yorkers Go Without Paid Sick Leave [Updated]”

  1. Daniel Millstone Says:
    October 15th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    While you state that our Mayor has voiced support for sick leave for workers, he does not actually supported such sick leave. There’s a bill introduced by Council Member Gail Brewer and supported by a majority of other members — but not by the Mayor.

  2. Larry Littlefield Says:
    October 16th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I get combined sick leave and vacation. If such a bill were to pass, the total days off I receive would not change. They would simply make some of them sick days.

    Although I worked for the government for many years, I’m not the sort of person who lies about being sick, using sick leave as vacation time. Therefore, the number of days I have off would go down if such a bill was passed.

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