MAP: On Paid Sick Leave, NYC Tries to Join the Rest of the World

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-639527p1.html">Alike You</a>/Shutterstock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The United States is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t give sick workers paid leave.

Now some New York City politicians are trying to change that—at least for their little corner of the country. A proposed city law would require most employers to give staff at least five days of paid sick leave each year. A veto-proof majority of City Council members support the bill, which has both grassroots and glitzy backers, but Council Speaker Christine Quinn (who killed a similar bill in 2010) refuses to bring it to a vote, citing potential strain on business and a crappy economy.

In a political climate in which even the extension of jobless benefits is controversial, national legislation on paid sick leave is unlikely to make much headway. So some of the country’s most liberal jurisdictions have been pushing forward on their own. In 2007, San Francisco became the first city to pass a law requiring employers to provide the benefit, inspiring similar laws in Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut, and proposed measures in over a dozen other states.

New York’s version of the paid sick leave law would force firms with 5 to 19 employees to give workers five paid sick days a year. Firms with 20 or more employees would have to offer nine days. Right now, over a million workers in one of the richest cities in the world don’t get paid if they have to take a sick day.

Although business leaders like Rupert Murdoch have criticized the idea of paid sick leave as “absurd,” 14 of the 15 wealthiest and most productive countries guarantee their citizens continued income when they’re ill, according to a 2009 study by the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy. So do about 160 other countries. It all makes the US, where more than 40 million people go without paid sick leave, look positively medieval:

Source: McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy

 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate