In a major victory in the effort to increase access to paid sick days, the New York City Council has passed a measure that would guarantee approximately one million workers the right to earn the paid sick time they need. This is a momentous achievement for a strong and dedicated coalition that has been working for more than four years to bring paid sick days to our nation’s most populous city.
The bill now goes to Mayor Bloomberg who has the opportunity to support working families and promote the city’s health by signing it into law. There is no excuse for him not to do so: The bill has the support of the majority of New Yorkers, the speaker and the City Council; and paid sick days have been shown to benefit workers, businesses, public health and local economies.
With this historic step forward in New York City, there is now undeniable momentum for paid sick days across the country. From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., Seattle, Connecticut and, soon, Portland, Oregon, workers, businesses, advocates and lawmakers have come together to enact this common sense policy. And campaigns in support of similar measures exist in nearly 20 other states and cities.
It is time for members of Congress to recognize the growing need and demand for paid sick days by advancing a federal standard like the Healthy Families Act. The bill has already been introduced in Congress, and 86 percent of voters say they support the national paid sick days standard it would provide. It would go a long way toward making the nation truly family friendly.
Congratulations to the strong coalition that made this victory in New York City possible today. Soon, the city will be a true national leader on this issue.