DeBlasio’s Improved Sick Leave Law Making Bad Colds A Little Less Worrisome


Marc Saggese

Remember that time during the Fall semester when you got pneumonia, which forced you to miss a full week of midterms AND your job at the coffee shop, which led you into a downward spiral of bad grades and “borrowing” money from your parents until you moved back home for winter break? Well, you never have to worry about that again (the money part) because of New York City’s new paid sick leave law!

With what is Mayor DeBlasio’s biggest triumph for part-time and low wage earners (read: college students), workers, after being employed for at least three months, will begin to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, one at a time per 30 hours of work. The sick leave law applies to either falling ill yourself, or if a loved one is sick and needs to be taken care of.

The introduction of this law, starting July 30, is a huge boon to workers’ sense of job security. No longer having to worry about either losing one’s job due to too many days missed, or having to forego up to a week’s pay, is a valuable benefit in the workplace. According to the Community Service Society, this year over one million workers will have paid sick leave for the first time; a total much larger than it would have been without Mayor DeBlasio expanding the paid sick leave law.

Here are the specifics on what has changed since the last iteration of the law: Companies with five or more workers, a number which has been reduced from fifteen in the previous version, have to provide up to five days of sick leave per year should their employees, or their loved ones, fall ill and are unable to work. Additionally, in the previous iteration of the law, paid sick leave did not cover the manufacturing sector, which it now does.

This law initially had employers, especially those on the lower end of the five-or-more employee rule, nervous as to how their businesses would be affected. With fears that employees would abuse their new right and essentially get paid for a week of no work, or that the extra expense of giving employees sick leave would throw the business out of financial balance, it was unclear how significantly this would affect NYC’s workplace at large. However, since the law came into effect in April, reception has been levelheaded and without outrage across the board. The way in which workers accrue sick leave hours, and the prerequisites for being eligible for the law are fair enough to both sides that it doesn’t tip the scales in one’s favor.

So, be aware of your new right! Don’t let your inescapable sickness during the most inopportune time of the semester affect your ability to at least be financially stable. After all, Mayor DeBlasio fought tooth-and-nail for this law, so it would be a crime to not acknowledge it and use it when necessary.