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De Blasio hands out fliers touting city sick-leave law, his first

Mayor Bill de Blasio greets commuters and hands

Mayor Bill de Blasio greets commuters and hands out fliers to promote the paid sick-leave law at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station in Downtown Brooklyn Wednesday, July 16, 2014. The new law goes into effect July 30. Credit: Linda Rosier

Volunteers and government officials are fanning out across New York City to promote a new law requiring most employers to pay workers who want to take off when they or their family are sick.

The law -- the first bill signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio -- took effect in April, when workers were allowed to begin accruing sick time, the first of which they can use at the end of July.

"Employees in NYC can use sick leave starting July 30," said white, blue and yellow fliers being distributed at dozens of subway stops in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Haitian Creole, Korean, Arabic and Bengali.

De Blasio helped hand out the fliers at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway stop in Brooklyn on Wednesday morning.

"People have the ability when they are sick, when their child is sick, when their parent is sick, to spend a few days getting well, helping others get well -- not bring their sickness to work," said De Blasio, who was wearing a yellow paid-sick-leave T-shirt over his shirt sleeves.

The law covers employers with five or more employees working at least 80 hours a year -- a total of about 44,000 businesses and 500,000 people citywide, including workers not in the country legally, according to the mayor's office, which organized the volunteers distributing the fliers. Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked for a maximum of five days of paid sick leave.

Employers with fewer than five workers must provide unpaid sick leave, under the new law.

The law brings to 1 million the number of workers in New York City who are now able to accrue paid sick time.

Employers who break the law face fines.

More information about the law is at

Along with municipal IDs for undocumented immigrants, free prekindergarten classes and tougher negotiations with real estate developers, the paid-sick leave law reflects the leftward tilt that New York City government has undergone since de Blasio took office.

De Blasio's predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, said that mandating paid sick leave would be a job killer.

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