In early January, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced legislation that would take two weeks of paid personal time off (PTO) a requirement for city employees. This is all part of his push to make New York City, “the fairest big city in America”. If approved by the City Council, it would be the nation’s first state requiring paid time off for its workers – the first of its kind.
The mayor’s office reports, over a half million full-time and part-time employees in the state with no paid time off. This is in contrast to state government employees, who receive two weeks of Paid Personal Leave per year.
“To be the fairest big city in America, New Yorkers can’t be forced to choose between bringing home a paycheck and taking time off to just disconnect or spend time with loved ones – that choice ends with Paid Personal Time,” de Blasio said. “I look forward to working with Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the rest of City Council on this important piece of legislation.”
The plan has received both praise and criticism, however. “Everyone wants employees to have a fair amount of vacation time, but one-size-fits-all government mandates tend to make it harder to hire, grow businesses, and create jobs,” says Michael Steel, a Republican operative who served as an aide to former House Speaker, John Boehner. “This sounds like that’s what this would do.” The proposal would require private employers (with five or more employees) to offer 10 days (per year) of PTO for any purpose or reason including vacation time, religious observance, bereavement and time with family. The proposed legislation would also guarantee this time for roughly well over 3 million New Yorkers, according to the mayor’s office.
If approved, the mayor’s plan would affect a wide range of industries in the state who presently do not receive any paid personal time, including 180,000 workers in professional services, 90,000 in retail, and 200,000 in the hotel and foodservice sectors.