NYC Council Speaker: Deal made on paid sick leave

March 29, 2013
NYC deal is key in sick days push, advocates say

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 9, 2012 file photo, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn laughs during a news conference at City Hall in New York. Quinn on Thursday, March 28, 2013, announced a deal between New York City legislators, labor advocates and business leaders on the hotly contested issue of paid sick leave. She says it will require businesses with 20 or more employees to provide five paid sick days to their workers beginning April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City legislators, labor advocates and business leaders have struck a deal on the hotly contested issue of paid sick leave.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has long declined to bring the matter to a vote, announced the agreement Thursday night.

"Throughout these negotiations I have always said that I was willing to listen and engage all sides," said Quinn in a statement. "Because of deliberate, thoughtful, and at times hard-nosed negotiations, we now have a piece of legislation that balances the interests of workers, small business owners, and local mom and pop proprietors across this City."

In the past, Quinn has argued that while the goals of a paid sick leave bill are laudable, the measure would hurt struggling employers.

But the bill proposed Thursday would require businesses with 20 or more employees to provide five paid sick days to their workers beginning April 1, 2014 and to businesses with 15 or more employees by October 1, 2015.

All employees would have to be employed for at least four months to be eligible, including part-time workers. Seasonal workers and work study students would not be eligible.

Under the proposed bill, which would be enforced by the Department of Consumer Affairs, businesses of any size must provide unpaid sick leave to their employees beginning April 1, 2014.

Councilmember Gale Brewer, who has pushed a paid sick leave bill for three years, said in a statement she was "honored" to be part of a City Council that addressed the issue.

"One million New Yorkers will now have the fundamental right to take a paid day off when they or a family member is ill, and no worker will be fired if they must stay home," she said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has opposed a paid sick leave bill. A spokesman from the mayor declined to comment Thursday night.

Quinn, Brewer and others who worked on the compromise bill will officially announce the bill Friday morning.

A previous version of the bill would have required businesses with 20 or more employees give their workers each nine paid sick days a year.