Paid Sick Leave Fans Jump on Swine Flu to Promote Bill


This swine flu thing has something for everybody. Supporters of the Earned Paid Sick Time bill — which would require city businesses to give employees time off for illness, and is now before the city council — see in the renewed interest in the bug an opportunity. Councilmember Gale Brewer, a tireless crusader for the cause (and for bedbug relief), released a statement today (also disseminated by the Working Families Party) quoting Nobel Prize winner Victor W. Sidel, who says, “Unfortunately, more than one million people in New York City do not have paid sick days where they work. As we prepare for a return of H1N1, making sure people who are sick can stay home and rest when they need to should be a top priority.”

At the WFP Mayoral Debate, Mike Bloomberg said that while supportive of the bill in principle, “I don’t want small businesses to cut their work forces or close” because they couldn’t afford such a requirement. His people insist that he still wants a law, but also still has concerns about small businesses. The bill’s advocates presumably think that by positioning the bill as a public health measure, they’ve made their case a little stronger.