The mandate will take effect on April 1, 2014, and will extend to include businesses with 15 or more employees a year later, under the accord, which was confirmed by Robin Levine, a City Council spokeswoman. It will also require all employers in the city to provide unpaid sick leave starting in 2014.
“The final outcome leaves out over 300,000 New Yorkers,” said city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a rival to Council Speaker Christine Quinn among five Democrats running for the party’s mayoral nomination. She had previously blocked efforts to bring such a proposal, backed by 38 of the 51 council members, to a vote.
The law, if adopted, will mean workers won’t have to fear losing a job because of illness. It will affect 1 million New Yorkers by 2015. A similar measure has won approval in Portland, Oregon, while others are pending in Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington state.
Quinn for three years resisted calls from a majority of the council to permit a vote on a bill that would have covered employers with five or more workers, saying it would impose too great a burden on small businesses while the unemployment rate remained at more than 9 percent. As a mayoral candidate, she has been criticized by de Blasio and others for her opposition to the measure.
The loopholes are big enough to drive a truck through, frankly. But good for Christine Quinn to at least recognize that half a loaf here is better than none. When the nation's largest city instituttes a law like this, I'm only hoping more cities will follow.