Skip to Content

Expanded NYC Sick Leave Laws Not Likely to Hurt Employers


Accompanied by the usual expressions of doom from small employers, on January 17 Mayor De Blasio announced a plan to greatly expand the reach of New York City's sick leave law. Under his proposal, companies with five or more employees would have to provide up to five paid days off to full-time workers if they, or their close relatives, fell ill. A weaker version of the law, which passed last year, would have affected only companies with 15 or more workers. The measure is likely to be approved by the City Council and will go into effect in April.

Business leaders have already predicted that an exodus of small businesses will occur shortly, and that the law will be massively abused by employees. Fortunately we have a track record from other cities where similar laws have been enacted, which shows that these dire predictions did not pan out.

According to an article in NY Times 1-27-14 edition( the cities of San Francisco and Seattle, and the State of Washington, which have similar laws, have not experienced any ill effects.

According to Donna Levitt, who runs San Francisco's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, and who was consulted by the mayor prior to his proposing the new law, initially there were lots of complaints and concerns by employers, but they eventually disappeared. Workers in San Francisco typically took fewer than half the sick days they were eligible for. And a vast majority of employers, who supported the new law, did not report any negative impact on profitability.

In Seattle, whose law took effect in September 2012 for companies with four or more workers, job growth was stronger in 2013 than it was in the months before the ordinance went into effect.

So I think the new law will be a plus for everyone, and therefore will be here to stay.

Share To: