New York City has become the most populous locale in the world to provide paid sick leave after lawmakers overrode a mayoral veto for a law that could affect 1 million workers.
The law would require that businesses with more than 15 employees give five days of sick pay per year, and workers could not be fired for using those days.
With the vote the city joined Portland, Wash., San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., in requiring the benefit for workers. Some lawmakers envision a future wherein providing sick days will become a national norm.
Advocates, like national executive director for the Working Families Party Dan Dantor, say workers should not have to choose between their physical and financial health. Additionally, colleagues should not have to be exposed to sick workers.
Critics, like Michael Bloomberg, say the bill will hamper small businesses and hurt the people it seeks to protect.
"Faced with this increase in costs, employers will seek to offset them in any number of ways, including reducing other benefits employees receive," Bloomberg said.
A provision allows for some convenience on both sides, where people with server jobs or similar professions could trade shifts instead of requesting the day off entirely. The provision would be especially attractive to waiters, considering tips would not be included in sick pay.
The bill is expected to kick in by April 2014 for larger businesses and by October 2015 for smaller ones.