Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is calling for an immediate vote on paid sick leave legislation following new proposed amendments to the bill on Friday. In a letter to Council Speaker Quinn, de Blasio called paid sick leave “an idea whose time has come” and a necessary response to growing income inequality and economic insecurity. Citing the unprecedented two-year debate, de Blasio called on the Council to fulfill the democratic process by allowing a vote to proceed at once.
Read the full letter below:
September 30, 2012
Hon. Speaker Christine C. Quinn
New York City Council
New York, NY 10007
Dear Speaker Quinn,
After more than two years of extensive debate, vetting and amendments, the time has come to pass paid sick leave legislation in New York City.
I am heartened by Council Member Garodnick's recent proposals. The positive reception they have garnered from elements of the business community should lay to rest concerns that a robust, workable paid sick leave law is out of reach.
You have said that now is not the time to consider this legislation because of a still-troubled economy. I could not disagree more. It is precisely because good jobs are so scarce that we must provide this basic protection for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who lack it today. A family on the edge, supported by a low-income wage, cannot afford to lose a paycheck or a job because a child—or a parent—falls ill. In good times, perhaps we could argue that someone fired unfairly could turn around and secure employment elsewhere. Today, those chances are slim.
In every borough, income inequality is skyrocketing and wages are tumbling. In just the past two years, median wages for the lowest-paid New Yorkers slid another $500 per year, even as incomes for the highest-paid increased by $2,000. Struggling families face mounting, often unbearable-pressure on their time and their checkbooks.
In this moment of profound income inequality, paid sick leave legislation will provide a measure of economic security and flexibility so many families desperately need.
This has been one of the most extensive debates in our city’s history. Policy experts have researched the costs and benefits to workers and employers alike. Leaders in labor, business and civic organizations have rendered their verdicts. Public polls have gauged popular opinion. The editorial boards of every major newspaper have weighed in. And 37 City Council Members have formally endorsed the bill. Few proposals have received this degree of scrutiny. The democratic process has been satisfied in every regard save one: an up or down vote.
We are all keepers of the democratic process, and none of us should stand in the way of an idea whose time has come. I urge you to bring this bill forward at once for a vote.
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York