Health Employee Rights in New York City

It should be the most natural thing in the world to take a few days sick leave from work, when one is unwell.  However, in New York City, many individuals do not get paid for sick leave.  And of course, it is those individuals who anyway are getting paid very low wages who are denied the paid sick leave.  So it’s not like they can afford to lose a day or two of paid work.  Typically, the workers denied the paid leave are in the following industries: many in the service industry like hotel employees, cooks, waiters, etc.  So they end up facing a very difficult choice:  either go to work sick, or forego a day’s pay on an already low income.

What is irresponsible here is that when sick employees go to the office, they tend to get other workers sick too.  In addition, they won’t be nearly as effective in their work.  Thus ultimately, not paying someone for sick leave is counterproductive.  As well, this only has a negative impact on the economy.

Good News for NY Employees

So while this isn’t exactly news, what is, is the fact that both Diana Reyna, councilwoman for Bushwick and Nydia Velázquez, representative for Brooklyn, voiced their support at a rally last week at City Hall on changing this situation with a bill on paid sick days.  (Reyna is also head of the Council’s Committee on Small Business.)  Their efforts attempted to increase pressure on Council Speaker Christine Quinn in this regard.

Thus it really is time something happened in New York City – and throughout the nation – to change this.  The fact of the matter is, people get sick and they shouldn’t be punished for this by not getting paid sick leave so that they can get better without the pressure of losing out on a day’s pay.