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De Blasio, activists rally for paid vacations for most working New Yorkers

A bill would require employers with five or more workers to provide an hour of paid time off for every 30 hours worked.

Mayor Bill de Blasio joins elected officials, union

Mayor Bill de Blasio joins elected officials, union members, advocates and activists for a rally at City Hall in support of Paid Personal Time legislation on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council members and activists pushed Tuesday for the passage of a long-gestating Council bill that would mandate giving paid time off to most working New Yorkers.

De Blasio joined Gloria Steinem and others at the City Hall rotunda prior to the first hearing on the bill. He argued that the legislation is essential for people struggling to both make ends meet and find time for friends and family. The mayor and presidential candidate added that several other countries around the world, including Canada and Japan, have paid time off policies that haven't negatively affected their economies.

"There is now up to a million New Yorkers who are working … and don’t get a single day of paid vacation,” he said. “It is not sustainable, it’s not going to work.”

The legislation, which was first introduced by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in 2014 and then reintroduced in April, would require employers with five or more workers to provide an hour of paid time off for every 30 hours worked. The maximum amount of paid time off would be 80 hours. Employers with one or more domestic workers, including nannies, would also be required to provide paid time off.

Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU, said the legislation would be good for the city.

“It is not a question of entitlement. It is a question of us being able to replenish our bodies, to have good mental health, and be with the people we love when we need to,” he said.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, acknowledged that employees deserve paid time off, but said the bill puts too much of a burden on small businesses struggling to keep costs down.

“Let’s talk with [businesses] and come up with other solutions, and not have another mandate,” he said.

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