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Gotham Votes 2013

Council Vote On Paid Sick Leave Could Give Brewer


Last night’s City Council vote overriding the mayor’s veto of a paid sick leave bill couldn’t come at a better time for the legislation’s lead sponsor.

Upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the sponsor of the bill, is running for Manhattan borough president — but needed a boost in a race where about 48 percent of voters remain undecided. Now she can tout how she championed the bill starting back in 2010.

Workers were almost crying today,” Brewer said to the New York Daily News. “They will now be the beneficiaries of what all workers should have, which is the ability to stay home if you’re sick.”

After Council Speaker Christine Quinn initially blocked the bill in 2010, Brewer told The New York Daily News that it was not dead, saying she was not going to stop her fight and that she had “a long-term view."

The Manhattan borough president hopeful did just that — fighting to the very end as she led a rally on the steps of City Hall just hours before lawmakers voted in favor of the bill 47-to-4.

After the veto was overridden, Council members and politicians from around the state echoed their congratulations for Brewer through Twitter and various social media outlets.

While Brewer is seen as the frontrunner in the Manhattan borough president’s race, one poll showed she remains only 5 percent ahead of challenger and District 7 Councilman Robert Jackson — who was also a sponsor of the bill — and just 8 percent ahead of District 5 Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.

The poll also found that Brewer had the highest name recognition among her opponents, which is expected to receive a boost as a result of the attention being given to paid sick leave.

The bill, Intro 0097, would “guarantee paid sick time to nearly one million New Yorkers,” Quinn said in a press release.

The legislation allows five days of paid said leave per year for companies with 20 employees. This number is expected to shrink down to 15 after the bill has been implemented for a year.

The New York Daily News reported that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not ruled out suing to block the law as he has done with other legislation in the past.

—Maya Miller



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