Westchester County
New York


PH- Paid sick leave for Certain Employees


Department:Board of LegislatorsSponsors:
Category:Public Hearing


A RESOLUTION setting a Public Hearing on a "LOCAL LAW amending the Laws of Westchester County by adding a new Article III Chapter 700 providing paid sick leave for certain employees." [Public Hearing set for _______________________;2017 at ____________; LOCAL LAW INTRO No.10098-20017]

Meeting History

Apr 25, 2017 10:00 AM Video Term 2016-17 (Public Safety & Social Services) Committee Meeting

Items #10099 & #10098 were discussed together.

Chair Boykin opened the Committee and made his remarks about the Earned Sick Leave Bill. Majority Leader Catherine Borgia, also made remarks as the Sponsor of the bill.

Sherri Leiwant, President of a Better Balance NY is a national legal advocacy group based in NY. Better Balance was instrumental in helping NYC draft their Paid Sick Leave Bill a have played drafted and negotiated the NYC bill that passed in 2013. The Bill is modeled from NYC which is a great bill. 36% of workers in Westchester County do not have access to paid sick time, which is very similar numbers to the national numbers. There are 40 municipalities across the County and & states that have the Bill and 7 complete States have also passed a similar Bill.

Legislator Burrows asked for the source of the numbers quoted by Ms. Leiwant's on the numbers of individuals without paid sick leave in Westchester County. Ms. Leiwant received her numbers from the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Ms. Leiwant went on to explain why the bill and subsequent bills have been so successful with multiple municipalities and cities adopting the policy. The reason why there has been so much momentum because the laws have been extremely successful for both employers and employees. Studies have been conducted in cities like San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle, jersey City showing absolutely no negative impacts, in fact, a comparison study was conducted and it has been shown there has even been better job growth after the bill passed then surrounding Counties that did not have a similar bill in place.

Legislator Tubiolo asked if Westchester County was the second County or area to draft this Bill. Ms. Leiwant responded yes, and Legislator Borgia added that Suffolk County was also looking at a similar bill.

Ms. Leiwant cited a report by Eileen Applebaum of the Center for Economic Policy Research and Ruth Milkman from CUNY named "No Big Deal" that stated a year and a half after the law took effect, 86% of the employers surveyed expressed support for the paid sick days law. 98% said they saw no abuse even though the perception was that many employees would abuse the law.

Legislator Burrows asked if there have been any changes made to the bill after it was adopted. Ms. Leiwant said that the only changes made to the Bill were in between the passage of the Bill in June 2013 and the implementation in 2014 with Mayor DiBlasio expanding the bill to include more workers and types of family members. Legislator Burrows asked which version of the bill is the Westchester County modeled off of and Ms. Leiwant said it was the most recent version of the NYC Bill passed in 2014. The NYC bill and the Westchester County bill are not identical. The base of all of the bills is the accrual, the way people earn the time and the cap of how much time they can accrue. Legislator Burrows asked that the Committee be given the differences between the NYC bill and the Westchester County bill. Legislator Borgia said the Westchester County Bill was more conservative then the NYC Bill. Legislator also asked how much times can an employee can carryover is determined. Legislator Borgia read the section of the bill where the carryover of time is calculated. Section 700.3 the accrual of sick time of paid sick time. Number 6 earn paid sick time shall be carried over to the following year alternatively, in lieu of carryover unused paid sick time from one year to the next an employer may pay an employee for unused paid sick time. Legislator Borgia added, the law does not require employees be paid.

Legislator Corcoran asked if there are any carve out in the bill for school districts. Ms. Leiwant responded that currently, there are no carve outs. Legislator Borgia stated her concern for carve out of that type is that those workers deal directly with children. Chair Boykin said that issue will also be considered and added to a list of concerns.

Donna Dolan, Executive Director of the NY Paid Leave Coalition and Co-Director of the NYC paid Sick Days Campaign. Ms. Dolan made her comments echoing many of the statements made by Ms. Leiwant, adding that nearly 25% of adults in the U.S. have been fired or threatened with job loss for taking time off when they have been sick or to care for a sick family member. Also, a saingle parent with two children earning $10 and hour and working full-time would slip below the federal poverty line if they had tomiss one signle day of work in a month. For low income families without paid sick time, going 3 and a half days without pay is equivalent to losing one month of groceries. Economists say a job retention policy like earned paid sick time helps reduce unempolyement and strengthens the eceonomy. Access to earned paid sick time reduces the likelyhood of job seperation. A national statistic done stated an empolyee that is sick and comes to work costs empolyers $160 billion dollars annualy, way more then the cost of providing earned paid sick time. The United States is the only country in the developed world that does not mandate earned paid sick time for their empolyees.

Legislator Corcoran asked why hasn't New York State passed a statewide law? Ms. Leiwant answered that they have been working on the Paid Family Leave Law in NYS and it has recently passed and goes into effect January 1, 2018. Ms. Leiwant believes that pressure from the passage of the Earned Paid Sick Leave from multiple Counties will help and make it happen on the State level. Ms. Dolan added that it is a matter of priorities.

Legisaltor Burrows asked, what is the difference between Paid Family Leave and Earned Paid Sick Time. Both Ms. Leiwant & Ms. Dolan responded that Paid Family Leave is used if an employee needs to take an extended period of time off if they are severly ill or need to take care of a famiy member who is severly ill. Whereas, Earned Paid Sick Leave is used for a shorter period of time, for example, if your child has a cold. Ms. Leiwant added another differentiation between the two bills is Paid Family Leave is a social insurance program so they are deductions from everyone's check to pay for the program and Paid Sick Time is paid for by the employer.