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Paid Sick Leave Bill Passes, Covering 1 Million New Yorkers by 2015

 City Council Christine Quinn and supporters announced a deal on paid sick leave on March 29, 2013.
Supporters Announce Deal on Paid Sick Leave
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DOWNTOWN — The City Council voted to pass the paid sick leave bill Wednesday, giving 1 million New Yorkers five paid sick days by 2015.

The bill, which lingered for years before City Council Speaker Christine Quinn threw her support behind the measure in March, will require companies with 20 or more employees to give their workers coverage starting April 1, 2014. It will extend to businesses with 15 or more employees by Oct. 1, 2015.

The Council voted 45 to 3 in support of the measure.

“People who are sick or who need to care for a loved one should be able to take time off without the fear of losing their job or not having money to pay the bills," Quinn said in a statement. "At the same time, we can’t ignore the harsh realities that small businesses face, and we need to protect their interests as well. This bill strikes that important balance."

Quinn had previously kept the bill from coming to vote, but she changed her position after concessions were made to protect small businesses.

The bill exempts businesses in the manufacturing sector because of "regional competitiveness," according to a City Council press release.

The act also contains a "reverse trigger," which will delay the law from taking effect if the New York City "Coincident Economic Index" falls below its January 2012 level.

In addition, Quinn negotiated to lower the fines businesses will face if they don't comply with the law. The Department of Consumer Affairs will be able to dole out fines ranging from $500 to $2,500 instead of $1,000 to $5,000, as was initially proposed.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to veto the bill, but the City Council has enough votes to override the veto.

One of Quinn's opponents in the mayoral race, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, praised the bill, but said it never should have taken this long to pass.

"Today is a step forward, but it’s one that has come years late because of Speaker Quinn’s obstruction," de Blasio said. "Every New Yorker deserves the protection of guaranteed paid sick leave — including the 300,000 workers still left behind. I’ll continue fighting until all families have this fundamental right."