At A Better Balance, we’re fighting across the country for workplace laws that reflect and protect the diversity of American families. This commitment is especially important in June, a month where we celebrate LGBTQ individuals and families across the country.
That’s why we are proud to support New York City’s Intro 1313. The bill would expand the definition of “family member” under the city’s sick time law. This would ensure that workers can care for all the people who are most important to them when they are sick or suffering, including workers’ extended families and chosen families, loved ones to whom they may not have a legal or biological relationship. Chosen families are especially important to LGBTQ New Yorkers, including older LGBTQ adults who rely on their chosen families for needed care. In enshrining workers’ right to sick time that can be used to care for chosen family, New York City would join Los Angeles; Chicago and Cook County, Illinois; St. Paul, Minnesota; and the state of Arizona.
Intro 1313 would provide new protection to New Yorkers dealing with the effects of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and stalking, problems that also affect the LGBTQ community as well. Since 2014, the Earned Sick Time Act has given workers in New York City the right to earn time off, usually paid, that they can use when they or their families are sick, injured, or receiving medical attention, including mental health and preventive care. Victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and stalking already have the right to use their earned sick time to address their physical and mental health needs, along with those of their families, as a result of these heinous crimes. The proposed legislation would expand the existing law by allowing victims to use their earned time for non-medical needs related to domestic violence, sexual abuse, and/or stalking, a practice commonly known as safe time. These could include meeting with an attorney or social services agency, relocating or planning to relocate for safety reasons, interacting with law enforcement or the district attorney’s office, enrolling a child in a new school, or other actions to ensure their family’s health and safety.
All workers deserve the right to care for themselves and their families without sacrificing their economic security, no matter what their family looks like. We’ll keep fighting here in New York and across the country to make that right a reality for all our families.