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Know Your Rights
Source: Metro
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Female pols push Quinn for sick-days vote

Five days home sick from work with a paycheck – that is what might stand between Council Speaker Christine Quinn and a fleet of prominent female politicians’ support.

Local politicians [including members of Make the Road New York] gathered today to target Quinn, who hopes to replace Michael Bloomberg as mayor, pushing her to bring the issue of paid sick days to the Council for a vote.

The legislation would guarantee five paid sick days each year for workers, which could be used if sick or caring for a sick family member. It would only apply to businesses with at least five employees.

Quinn has not yet called for a vote on the bill, which is supported by many Council members.

“I believe providing paid sick leave to hard-working families is a worthy and admirable goal, one I would like to make available for all,” she said in a statement. “However, with the current state of the economy and so many businesses struggling to stay alive, I do not believe it would be wise to implement this policy, in this way, at this time.”

On the City Hall steps, female pols, from Congresswomen to Quinn’s fellow Council members, invoked parents’ need to take time off for sick kids.

“As a mother of two and an elected official, I know how important it is to have paid sick days,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said.

The critical blast arrives after famed feminist Gloria Steinem said last week that she would not endorse Quinn without a vote.

“Making life fairer for all women seems more important than breaking a barrier for one woman,” Steinem said.

Working while sick

Tyi Jones, 23, Bronx, just found out she doesn’t get paid for sick days at American Apparel. If she’s sick, she has to either go into work or find someone to replace her, she told Metro. Because that can be difficult, she said, “I always go in sick … Despite how I’m feeling.” That means it takes her longer to get better and puts customers at risk for germs. Another industry where sick workers are a potential problem? Food. Paulina Cac Lux, 30, used to work at a grocery store that rarely allowed sick days, and not once during her first two years. “Even the customers realized when we’re all sick, and they try and stay away from us,” she said in Spanish. “The bosses, they really couldn’t care less.”

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