Skip to main content
Ruth Martin's picture

When New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn walked out of negotiations on the paid sick days bill in October she promised to review her position every two months. [1]

Well, today is the two month mark and it’s time for the human alarm clock to ring!

Remind NYC Council Speaker Quinn that over 1 million New Yorkers still need paid sick days!

Speaker Quinn needs to hear that the over 1 million New Yorkers who aren't able to earn even a single paid sick day are still waiting. That number includes many working moms struggling to hold onto their jobs, pay the bills and care for their kids.

Send an email to Speaker Quinn, right now, letting her know that it’s time! Moms and dads can’t wait - flu season is here and we need paid sick days now!

It’s no surprise why 88% of NYC working moms support paid sick days.  [2] We all know how fast the flu can travel through a workplace, school, or child care center; yet over a million New York City residents are not allowed by their employers to earn paid sick days. This is a serious issue for New York's women and families. For the first time in U.S history, women are half of all workers and mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families. Without paid sick time, women--especially low income women with children and single mothers--face impossible choices between tending to their own health or the health of their children and their economic security.

In New York City the people least likely to earn paid sick days are the ones most likely to have jobs that require frequent contact with the public, like food service, child care, nursing home and retail employees. This is a big problem – when sick folks aren’t able to stay home, it puts everyone’s health at risk – coworkers, restaurant patrons, school kids, and, well, everyone. Allowing workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers is a fundamental public health measure. Our laws are clearly out of sync with responsible public health practices.

The paid sick days bill would have allowed employees in New York City to earn up to five paid sick days per year, based on hours worked, for employees at small businesses (fewer than 20 employees), and nine paid sick days for employees at large firms. The legislation would have barred employers from retaliating against an employee for using the paid leave time.

The city of San Francisco passed a similar law in 2006, and its businesses haven't experienced a negative impact. In fact, San Francisco experienced stronger employment growth in industries most affected by paid leave – retail, hospitality, food service etc – than the neighboring counties without paid sick days. [3]

When we’re worried about our kids’ health or our own health, we shouldn’t also have to worry if we’ll still have a job when we get better. Paid sick days are good for our families and we’re not going to stop fighting for them.

Send an email to Speaker Quinn reminding her that she promised to review her position on paid sick days every two months and over a million NYC families are counting on her to do the right thing and support paid sick days.

P.S. We’re making a calendar for Speaker Quinn to help her remember to review her position on the paid sick days bill every two months. We need your help to personalize it! Send us your pictures and notes and we’ll add them to the calendar we’re going to deliver to Speaker Quinn in 2011. Send pictures (of you, your family, kids drawings, etc) to me at

P.P.S. Have a Twitter account? Send a Tweet to @ChrisCQuinn to remind her that the two month mark is up and urge her to reconsider her position on paid sick days. Here’s a sample tweet: Speaker @ChrisCQuinn it’s time 2 reconsider! Pls support #paidsickdays 4 the over 1M NYers who don't have them. Our families need this!

[1] NY Daily News: "Council Speaker Christine Quinn Shelves Plan to Make Private Employers Provide Sick Leave" October, 14, 2010

[2] Jeremy Rice and Nancy Rankin, “Sick in the City: What the Lack of Paid Leave Means for Working New Yorkers,” October, 2009

[3] Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, Paid Sick Leave Does Not Harm Employment, March 2010

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!