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Councilwoman Gale Brewer introduced a groundbreaking bill last year intended to provide mandatory paid sick leave to New York City workers.

In response to concerns put forth by the business community, a newly revised version of the bill was introduced on March 25, 2010.

The new 2010 version of the bill is co-sponsored by 35 (out of 51) Councilmembers.

Like its predecessor, the 2010 version of the bill would allow workers to earn one hour of sick leave for every thirty hours worked - up to 9 sick days per year (up to 5 sick days per year for small business employees.)

However, the new version of the bill expands the definition of "small businesses" from those with 10 full-time employees to those with 20 full-time employees.   Councilwoman Brewer has stated that:

We've taken into account the concerns of small businesses facing tough economic times, so that we can all come together around this as the right bill at the right time.  Healthy workers mean more productive businesses and less turnover at businesses of all sizes.

The new version of the Paid Sick Time bill also omits provisions that would be applicable to domestic violence victims.  Similar provisions have been the subject of controversy surrounding a paid sick leave bill that was enacted in Milwaukee in 2008 but is still tied up in litigation.

The NYC Paid Sick Time bill would allow paid sick days to be used when the employee is sick or to allow the employee to care for sick children or other sick relatives.  A recent reportreleased by A Better Balance and Community Service Society revealed that nearly half of New York workers do not have a single paid sick day.

The Paid Sick Time bill also has a provision allowing sick days to be used to care for children whose schools have been closed by city officials for public health reasons, even if the children are not themselves sick.  Last year, school closings in New York City due to the swine flu outbreak caused havoc for working parents. Indeed the concept of paid sick leave legislation may very well have gained momentum in light of last year's swine flu outbreak across the country.

For more information about the paid sick time movement in New York City and across the country, see the website of A Better Balance.

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