Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resistance, and Finding Joy, repeatedly recognizes the difficulties facing low income women and women of color and calls for public policy to address those needs In particular, she calls for many of the policy goals we fight for at A Better Balance, including: closing the wage gap, recognizing and protecting the diversity of American families, paid family and medical leave and paid sick time.
On Monday evening, the Westchester Board of Legislators passed a paid sick time law that will cover all workers in Westchester County. Westchester joins 11 states and 34 localities throughout the country that have passed similar laws.
The new law is a strong one, ensuring that workers in Westchester County will be able to earn 40 hours of sick time in a year to use for themselves or to care for a family member. The time will be paid time for workers of employers with 5 or more employees and unpaid for workers of employers with fewer than 5 employees. Domestic workers will be able to earn paid sick time regardless of the size of their employer. “Family” is broadly defined in the law to ensure that all families are included reflecting the diversity of family structures in Westchester and throughout the country.
A Better Balance has been involved in drafting almost all of the paid sick time laws in the United States, including Westchester County. We worked closely with Catherine Borgia, the sponsor of the legislation, meeting with business groups throughout the County and drafting and redrafting the law to address concerns raised. County legislator Borgia was a tireless advocate for this law and worked hard to ensure that it was as strong as possible. The Westchester Community/Labor Coalition for Employee Earned Sick Time led by unions such as TWU and 32BJ and community groups like Make the Road New York also worked hard to make this happen and we were proud to work with them.
The people of Westchester are the real winners in the passage of this law. This is true not only because Westchester workers can now stay home when they are sick or when their family needs care without fearing job loss or loss of pay, but also because this legislation will help improve the health of the entire county. Study after study shows that providing paid sick time improves public health with respect to contagious disease and on the job injury and at the same time is good for business. Westchester County joins the growing list of states and cities that demonstrate they care about the economic security and health of their communities by ensuring all workers have access to sick time.
Link to A Better Balance’s Overview of Paid Sick Time Laws in the United States.