New York mayor proposes requiring paid leave, a first for US

Richard B. Levine  Newscom

In a week where Mayor Bill de Blasio had already announced proposals for universal healthcare for New York City residents, as well as guaranteed two-week leave, he added to the list of progressive proposals in his State of the City address on Thursday.

During an address from Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, de Blasio said his plan to guarantee health care should be a model for the rest of the country. Some Americans want to see the health initiative replicated nationwide.

Almost half of the New York City workforce, or about 2 million workers, do not have employee-sponsored retirement plans, the mayor said at this State of the City. "In this city, we're going to make that a reality", he said Tuesday.

There are approximately 600,000 New Yorkers without health care coverage.

The City Council would need to consider and approve the mayor's plan before it can become law.

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An employee would get an hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked for up to 10 paid days off per year.

"To be the fairest big city in America, New Yorkers can't be forced to choose between bringing home a paycheck and taking time off to just disconnect or spend time with loved ones - that choice ends with Paid Personal Time", de Blasio said. The number of required days off would be pro-rated for part-time workers. As the New York Post reported, the bill was introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents parts of Manhattan, but also now chairs the Council's Land Use Subcommittee on Planning Dispositions and Concessions, which has oversight over the sale or lease of city-owned land to developers.

According to NYC's Open Data portal, there are now 8,452 lots of vacant, city-owned land in the city of NY.

In the last two years, he said New York City's Public Engagement Unit coordinated signing up more than 130,000 New Yorkers for plans through the exchanges created by the law. Using publicly available data, the land access group 596 Acres mapped out 208 lots of city-owned land sold or pending sale for $1 to developers since the beginning of the de Blasio administration in 2014. "Well-connected developers should not be getting sweetheart deals on the taxpayers' dime".

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