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NYC Is Now the Largest City to Offer Paid Sick Days

Illustration for article titled NYC Is Now the Largest City to Offer Paid Sick Days

New York City is officially the largest city in the county to require that businesses give employers paid sick leave, despite the best efforts of billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who claims the measure will "harm the very people it seeks to help." Too bad for him and other powerful critics (ahem mayoral wannabe Christine Quinn): lawmakers overrode a mayoral veto early today, which means the law will allow more than 1 million workers to take better care of themselves and their families.


New York will join Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and the state of Connecticut in requiring paid time off for at least some workers. Advocates say New York will serve as an example so that more cities will make companies give employees the paid time off they deserve.


"The catalyst will have been the successful struggle we waged here in New York City," Dan Cantor, the national executive director of the Working Families Party, told the AP.

"But small companiesssssssss," whined critics. Under the new law, only employees of businesses with 20 or more workers get up to five paid sick days a year starting in April 2014; businesses with 15 to 19 workers will wait a year and a half more. All other companies just have to provide five unpaid sick days a year. So: not perfect yet. But it's a massive, monumentous start.


Image via AP.

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Ginger, get the popcorn!

Here's what I don't get: even if you don't give a shit about worker's rights (because having to care about low-income people is cramping my consumerist style!), this is a public health issue. Don't you care that the person making your Nachos Bel Grande might literally have the flu but is at work touching and breathing in the vicinity of your food anyway because their employer will either fire them for missing work or they can't afford not to be paid for a shift? Do you seriously want to people at your child's daycare (many of whom are minimum-wage earners) to be taking care of your child while dealing with a nasty cold? No. Because that's fucking gross, and a legitimate public health concern. You think food-service workers, and maids, and custodians, and whatever were staying home when they had swine flu? No, they were serving you food, caring for your children, and cleaning up your messes because they had no other choice.

Norovirus, the most common cause of gastrointestinal distress (heyo, diarrhea!), is spread through fecal-oral contamination. So basically, a person with norovirus doesn't wash their hands (or does, but because fecal bacteria is basically everywhere, it gets in anyway) prepares your food or touches the subway railing on the way to work or whatever, and BLAMMO, now you have norovirus. DO YOU WANT NOROVIRUS? No. You do not. So let sick people fucking stay home.

Even if you don't care about their well-being, don't you care about your own?