- The City Council passed the legislation 45-3
- Mayor Bloomberg vows to veto
- The City Council can override a veto with a two-thirds vote
- The Council says the measure could affect nearly 1 million New York workers
The New York City Council has joined governments of at least five other major U.S. cities and one state in passing legislation requiring private employers to provide paid sick time.
The Earned Sick Time Act, which now goes to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will require private businesses with 20 or more employees, to provide five paid sick days annually, beginning in April 2014. Some businesses will be exempt from the requirement to pay employees for sick time, but will still be required to provide time off without penalty to employees.
The act was approved with a 45-3 vote tally, and comes after the City Council announced an agreement in March to pass the act. The Council expects the new legislation to affect nearly 1 million New York workers, according to a press release.
"People who are sick or who need to care for a loved one should be able to take time off without the fear of losing their job or not having money to pay the bills," City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said.
"At the same time, we can't ignore the harsh realities that small businesses face, and we need to protect their interests as well. This bill strikes that important balance."
The bill now goes to Bloomberg, who vowed Wednesday to veto it. Bloomberg said that the some workers will suffer as some companies may lay off employees or split up into smaller companies to avoid falling under the regulations.
"History shows that an awful lot of people will take those days whether they're sick or not. You can then argue they're vacation days," Bloomberg said.
If Bloomberg does veto the bill, the City Council can override the veto with a two-thirds vote.
In 2006, San Francisco became the first city to required companies to provide paid sick days, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Washington and Milwaukee followed in 2008, and Connecticut became the first state to pass statewide paid sick time laws in 2011.
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Seattle passed laws in 2011, and Portland, Oregon, followed earlier in 2013.
Currently there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave, according to the U.S. Department of Labor website.
Some companies are subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993, which provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year "for certain medical situations for either the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family."
The FMLA was amended in 2008 to permit a "spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin" to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a member of the Armed Forces who is undergoing medical treatment, according to the Department of Labor website.