NYC's de Blasio seeks paid vacation law for private workers

(Bloomberg) – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed requiring private businesses with five or more employees to give at least 10 days of paid vacation a year, a step that would extend the benefit to about 500,000 full- and part-time workers who currently don’t have it.

The law would guarantee two weeks paid vacation or personal time to every employee, including the thousands of airport workers, apartment-building doormen, retail workers and others without compensated days off. It would require approval by the 51-member city council, where it would have broad support among a Democratic majority that has already pushed the mayor to budget more than $100 million for half-fare discounts to some of the city’s poor on subways and buses.

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It would apply to the same workers covered by the city’s 2014 legislation guaranteeing five days of paid sick leave after 120 days of employment. Unused personal time could be carried over to the following year, with workers giving employers at least two weeks notice. The mayor said the law would be the first of its kind in the U.S. and was needed to help families and to preserve the public’s health.

“New Yorkers need a break,” de Blasio said during a City Hall news conference Wednesday. “It’s bad for your physical health. It’s bad for your mental health. It’s no way to live.”

The mayor’s proposal amounts to “another example of municipal overreach into the city’s private sector,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, a civic association of corporate chief executives. “More than a third of the businesses that would be most threatened by this new mandate are owned by immigrants, a group that the mayor champions. Many are struggling retailers, who are facing rising rents and online competition.”

De Blasio said the city’s law would be similar to those enacted in many of the world’s industrialized nations, including the U.K., France, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan and Italy.