Hundreds of lawmakers, workers and advocates rallied Thursday in support of a bill requiring businesses to pay workers for sick days.
Make the Road New York organized the march, which began in Brooklyn Heights and ended in downtown Manhattan.
The community group estimates 1.2 million workers in New York don’t get paid sick leave.
"In general, this is working poor or working class people who work low wage jobs and if they’re sick or their kids are sick, and they stay home they don’t get paid. That’s wrong," said Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor.
"It’s fair and it’s a human right for everybody to be able to stay home if they’re sick because they don’t want them going work if they’re sick, particularly with what’s going on with the H1N1 virus," said Make the Road NY Deputy Director Javier Valdes. "We want to make sure that people are staying home and taking care of themselves and not getting any other person sick."
Two months ago, the City Council introduced legislation requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave.
Under the bill, workers at medium and large businesses would get paid for up to nine sick days a year.
At small businesses, workers would earn five paid sick days.
Some opponents of the plan say while it is well-intentioned, it will ultimately hurt businesses that are already struggling because of the economy.