Skip to main content
Rashad Robinson's picture

For more than a million New Yorkers — mostly Black, Latino and immigrant workers — getting sick can mean losing a paycheck or, in some cases, a job.

The City Council has proposed a law that would allow New Yorkers at least five paid sick days a year, but Speaker Christine Quinn is keeping the ordinance from passing. Although a veto-proof majority of her colleagues support the bill, Speaker Quinn has refused to allow a vote. She is considering a run for mayor next year and doesn't want to upset the city's business elite. It's shameful.

Please join us in calling on Speaker Quinn to provide relief to New York's workers and allow a vote on the Paid Sick Time Earned by Employees Act. It only takes a moment:

No one should be penalized for staying home to take care of themselves or a family member when illness strikes. Workers in the service sector — whose jobs depend on the ability to be quick, clear-headed and friendly — often answer to bosses who demand that they come to work sick. More than half of workers who handle food and 43 percent of workers in close contact with children or the elderly do not have paid sick time.

Based on Speaker Quinn's history of supporting public health measures, the paid sick time bill seemed a no-brainer. She's backed Mayor Micheal Bloomberg's efforts to ban smoking in most public places, trans fats in restaurants, and menus that don't list calorie counts.

Speaker Quinn's political aspirations are getting in the way of her ability to push policies that keep New Yorkers healthy. She has the power to put a humane and comprehensive sick-leave policy on the books. When the law was first introduced in city council three years ago, it received broad support from council members and the public.She's come under the influence of deep-pocketed business lobbyists who claim that the Paid Sick Time Earned by Employees Act will hurt the city's economy. They say that such a benefit will hurt businesses and maybe even force them to leave town, taking jobs with them.

It's a scare tactic we've heard before. The truth is that the costs to businesses providing paid sick leave are significantly lower than the healthcare, training, and other related costs of a sick workforce. In return, these businesses could expect higher rates of employee retention, increased productivity from a healthy workforce and reduced spread of disease on the job.

Paid sick days are good for workers and employers, but Speaker Quinn won't even bring it to the floor for a vote.

Please join us in demanding that she put working New Yorkers ahead of her political ambitions and call for a vote immediately. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of strongly encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We value diversity of opinions and perspectives. Our goals for this space are to be educational, thought-provoking, and respectful. So we actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that undermine these goals. Thanks!