LatimerBorgiaBoykinBillSigningOctober 12, 2018 – County Executive George Latimer signed into law a measure allowing hardworking Westchester residents to accrue Earned Sick Time and their place of employment. Latimer signed the measure today at the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, a small business that has long held the belief that taking care of their employees helps both the business and its employees in the long run.

According to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, approximately 36 percent of workers in Westchester County lack the ability to take a sick day if they need to care for themselves, a child, or a loved one. Research also suggests that a large portion of these employees are in fields where they are dealing with vulnerable populations – like childcare providers or elderly home health aides – or work in the food service industry. Meaning that these employees working with food, elderly Westchester residents or children or forced to come to work sick – leading to more widespread illnesses.

Under this new measure, employees accrue a minimum of one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked – or roughly 200 hours for a full time employee to earn one day.

Latimer said: “With the flu season being in hand, all of us are subject to dealing with what our health may be. One of the first things said is ‘if you come down sick, don’t go to work because you may have a sickness that will be spread.’ Knowing that you won’t be penalized for taking that time off is essential – because it’s not time to play, it’s time to get better.”

This new law is good for Westchester’s economy because it puts money in the pockets of hard-working Westchester residents who in the past were forced to choose between the needed day’s wages and taking care of an illness – of either themselves, a child or a loved one.

County Legislator Catherine Borgia, the measure’s earliest proponent and main sponsor, said: "This law is a practical, cost-effective way to make sure people who are sick are not required to come to work or face being fired or face financial penalty, while reining in the costs to businesses of lost productivity and employee turnover.  Plus, it will make everyone in Westchester healthier since the people most likely to benefit from this law are in jobs that contact the public or vulnerable populations -- people who work in retail or food service, or who work with children or with the sick and elderly as home health aides."

Chairman of the Board of Legislators Ben Boykin said: “This law is good for the working men and women of Westchester and their families. It’s also good for businesses and for the public.  Workers who come to work sick, or distracted by illnesses at home, are enormously less productive. That costs businesses money. On top of that, sick workers make other employees sick, so the business costs and the public health costs escalate. As Board Chairman, I'm proud that we’ve taken this step to protect the health and well-being of working people and the public.”

CWA Local 1103 Secretary/Treasurer Joe Mayhew, speaking on behalf of the Employee Paid Sick Leave Community/Labor Coalition said: “The Employee Paid Sick Leave Community/Labor Coalition - made up of 34 Community & Labor organizations that worked more than three long years to pass Earned Paid Sick Leave in Westchester County to protect the most vulnerable low-wage workers - is grateful that earned paid sick time was signed into law today.  The fact is the vast majority of workers in low-wage paying jobs will benefit the most from this historic signing.  No longer will pregnant women have to forego important medical examinations, nor service workers have to report to work with the flu, or parents have to send their children to school sick, because they could not afford to miss even a single day of work without pay.”

Members of the Employee Paid Sick Leave Community/Labor Coalition include:

A Better Balance, CcoHope Indivisible Croton on Hudson- Ossining- Peekskill, Civil Service Employees Association, Communication Workers of America, Community Voices Heard, Congregation B'nai Yisrael, Croton in Action, Encephalities Global Inc,  Ethical Culture Society of Westchester, Frist Approach EA/Worksite Wellness,  Irvington Activists, Local 1 International union of Elevator Constructors,  Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network, Mamaroneck High Scholl Young Democrats,  Mount Vernon United Tenants,  National Lawyers Guild, Pace Law School Chapter,  NY Police & Fire Retirees Association, New York State Nurses Association,  New York Paid Leave Coalition, New York State United Teachers,  Rye Brook High School Young Dems, Safe Energy Rights Groups, SEIU 32BJ, Showing up for Racial Justice – Westchester,  Southern Westchester Action Committee SWAC,  Sustainable Port Chester Alliance, Transportation Workers Union Local 100,  United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, Westchester for Change, Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL-CIO, We Persist, WESPAC, Westchester National Organization for Women, Westchester-Putnam Working Families Party.