Skip to main content
Ruth Martin's picture

We're outraged that, mere weeks before flu season starts, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced she won't support the New York City paid sick days bill, effectively "killing" it.

For now.

Why “for now?”  Because we know how important paid sick days are to working moms and our families’ health and economic security and we won’t stop fighting when over 1 million New Yorkers have to choose between going to work sick or losing a day’s pay – and possibly their job – if they stay home sick or with a sick child.

Send an email to Council Speaker Christine Quinn telling her know that she’s let us down, and let our families down, and we will continue to fight for this important policy until the voices of NYC moms and dads are heard!

It’s no surprise why a majority of City Council members and New Yorkers support paid sick days, including 88% of NYC working moms.  [1] We know firsthand how fast the flu can travel through a workplace, school, or child care center. Yet nearly one and a half 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 primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families.  [2] 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, and 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 any negative impacts. 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]

What is surprising is that Speaker Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg would ignore all the data, the success stories from San Francisco and the plight of so many working NYC parents and kill the paid sick days bill.

But, we’re moms. We teach our babies how to sleep through the night, potty train toddlers and raise teenagers!  We *know* how to handle setbacks, regroup and come back stronger than ever.

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 and let know the fight for paid sick days isn’t over!

*And don’t forget to forward to your friends and family so they can take action too!

Together we are a powerful force for women and families!

P.S. Want to share your story about paid sick days? Click here:

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

[2] Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything” 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!