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Paid sick time law passes in NYC, veto overridden

NEW YORK — New York City is becoming the most populous place in the United States to make businesses provide workers with paid sick time. Lawmakers overrode a mayoral veto Thursday to pass a law expected to affect more than 1 million workers.

With the vote, the city joined Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and the state of Connecticut in requiring the benefit for at least some workers.

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Supporters see the New York measure as a pace-setter, although it has some significant limits and conditions.

‘‘The catalyst will have been the successful struggle we waged here in New York City,’’ said Dan Cantor, of the Working Families Party.

Advocates say workers should not have to choose between physical and financial health, and customers and colleagues should not be exposed to employees who go to work sick.

Critics say the government should leave sick-day arrangements to workers and bosses and that the requirement will burden small businesses.

Under the New York City law, employees of businesses with 20 or more workers would get up to five paid sick days a year beginning in April; the benefit would kick in by October 2015 at enterprises with 15 to 19 workers. All others would have to provide five unpaid sick days per year, meaning workers could not get fired for using those days.

Employees could choose to work extra hours instead of taking sick time, a provision for those who’d rather swap shifts than stay home sick.

Manufacturing companies would be exempt from the paid sick time requirement — the rationale is that they’re struggling — though workers would still be protected from firing for taking unpaid sick days.

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