April 10, 2017
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – April marks three years of New York’s Paid Sick Leave Law. This legislation created the legal right to sick leave for 3.4 million private and nonprofit sector workers. Nearly 1.2 million employees did not previously have access to this work place benefit.
Last month, New York City recorded its lowest unemployment rate since 1976, continuing a strong expansion of new jobs that has coincided with new protections for employees. Over the past three years, DCA secured restitution for nearly 16,000 New Yorkers. Recently, the agency filed charges on behalf of nine JetBlue ground crew and flight attendants against JetBlue for violating the law.
“In New York, we’ve shown that protecting working families and growing our economy go hand-in-hand,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “For the last three years, businesses can no longer punish employees for taking time off to care for themselves or a sick child, a benefit to families and to public health. At the same time, New York’s economy is booming, with unemployment reaching lows not seen for over forty years. I thank the City Council for taking leadership and passing this law, as well as the Department of Consumer Affairs for protecting and supporting workers, especially the most vulnerable among them, including immigrants, women, people of color, or those with low incomes.”
Leave Law went into effect, the agency has closed more than 900 cases, securing more restitution for close to 16,000 employees. Many of these New Yorkers work for low wages as security guards, home health aides, restaurant workers, and retail workers, and many are immigrants, people of color, or women.
“The Council is thrilled to mark the third anniversary of its expansion of the Paid Sick Leave Law, which has helped ensure that no New Yorker has to choose between a day’s pay or caring for a sick loved one,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This important measure has expanded protections to over a million residents, and represents the commitment we hold to working for policies and legislation that make New York City a more fair and just place for its workers.”
Policy and Standards (OLPS), which is charged with enforcing the Paid Sick Leave Law, as well as others, was formally established in 2016. Presently the airline industry is one industry in New York City where OLPS has repeatedly filed charges against employers for violations of the law. DCA OLPS filed charges against JetBlue on Friday, March 31, 2017, which follows a case filed against Delta Airlines in February. DCA OLPS has received nine complaints from current and former JetBlue employees with various job titles (six flight attendants, two ground crew members, one customer service representative), all of whom have alleged violations of the Paid Sick Leave Law.
“The fight for Paid Sick Leave stretched out for years, in part because of the usual predictions of doom and gloom for businesses and jobs if we made our workplaces fairer and healthier,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, sponsor of New York City’s first paid sick leave law. “On this third anniversary of the Paid Sick Leave Law going into effect, New York’s economy is strong and we’ve posted unprecedented job growth numbers, proving that we don’t have to choose between a growing economy and fairer, healthier workplaces. The de Blasio administration and the Department of Consumer Affairs have my thanks for their work on enforcing our law.”