10 Years Of Paid Safe And Sick Leave: Celebrating Consumer And Worker Protection

April 11, 2024

Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga today celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the city’s landmark Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law.

The law, which went into effect in April 2014, was historic in its scope, and now offers more than 3.8 million employees the legal right to take paid leave off work to care for themselves and their families. At the time, New York City was the seventh—and largest—jurisdiction to create the legal right to sick leave and it became a model for other jurisdictions to enact similar laws.

“No worker should ever have to choose between taking care of themselves or a sick family member and their job, and, because of the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, they don’t have to,” said Mayor Adams. “Today, we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the right to paid safe and sick leave, as well as the steady expansion of this right to more workers in more ways, including through the nearly $10 million our administration has secured for almost 23,000 workers who had to endure violations of the law. The millions of New Yorkers who work across our city are entitled to dignity, respect, and must have the protections they need to support their growing families. Our administration will continue to fight on behalf of working-class people, and this anniversary serves as an important reminder of how far we have come.”

“Safeguarding fair treatment in our city’s workplaces is a constant effort,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “The Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law literally saved lives during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud to celebrate 10 years of ensuring that our city’s workforce has the right to take care of themselves and their loved ones.”


Since the start of the Adams Administration, DCWP has closed 470 Paid Safe and Sick Leave cases, securing more than $9.8 million in restitution for nearly 23,000 workers.

DCWP launched a massive public awareness campaign in 2014 to inform employers and workers about workers’ rights under the law, including hosting dozens of events with elected officials, business improvement districts, chambers of commerce, and more. DCWP also ran thousands of ads in English and Spanish, sent mailings to nearly half a million businesses, and worked in partnership with community boards and more than a dozen sister agencies to disseminate information to New Yorkers. Throughout the years and with the expansion of the law, DCWP has continued to mount public awareness campaigns and conduct outreach about the right. 

Since 2014, DCWP has received more than 3,600 complaints about potential violations of the law and closed more than 2,900 investigations, securing nearly $22 million in restitution for nearly 68,000 workers. In recent years, DCWP has had several major settlements with companies to resolve violations of the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law and secure restitution for workers, including ChipotleConsolidated EdisonAmazon, and Eulen America, a contractor for American Airlines


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The law has also been amended several times since 2014 to expand who is covered and the amount of leave and how it can be used. In 2018 the law expanded to include safe leave, providing workers with the right to take leave to seek social services or take other safety measures for themselves or a family member if they are the victim of any act or threat of domestic violence or unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking. In 2020, the benefit increased from 40 hours to 56 hours of leave for workers at businesses with 100 or more employees in New York City. Starting in 2024 workers can file private lawsuits for violations of the law, expanding workers’ options for legal relief.

Today’s anniversary comes as New York City Mayor Eric Adams took steps earlier this year to support working-class families and make city government more family-friendly for thousands of employees by expanding both paid parental and family leave for non-union city workers.

“Since the implementation of the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law ten years ago, its impact in promoting health, safety, and care for working New Yorkers has been monumental,” said Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.“The protections guaranteed by this bill – along with the accompanying public awareness campaigns to inform workers of their rights, unrelenting efforts to hold employers accountable, and continuous expansion of this legislation to adapt to our growing workforce – embody our collective goal of enacting and effectively implementing laws that build a stronger city for all. I thank the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for their work to help secure the well-being of our workers and their loved ones.” 

“During my tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, Paid Safe and Sick Leave was crucial and significant for millions of New Yorkers for themselves and their families,” said Council Member Julie Menin, Chair of the Committee on Consumer & Worker Protection. “Since enacting this landmark law, dozens of other jurisdictions have followed suit giving millions of Americans paid sick leave. I am proud of the work that we did to promote the law, including a public awareness campaign in its first year. I thank the agency for its work in enforcing this monumental law.”

“As Chair of the Civil Service and Labor Committee at the City Council and a sponsor of Earned Safe and Sick Time and Fair Workweek legislation, it is encouraging to see our workers get the justice they deserve and see our labor law enforcement produce positive results,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa. “For ten years, Paid Safe and Sick Leave has allowed working-class families relief to ensure they and their loved ones are cared for without jeopardizing their employment while giving agencies a mechanism to hold employers accountable. Our workforce is the backbone of our city, and employers must do right by them. We thank the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for ensuring unscrupulous employers comply with the law.”

“Passing the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law took four years of non-stop advocacy and coalition building,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “It was a radical idea to give approximately one million New Yorkers the fundamental right to a paid day off when they or a family member falls ill and to protect them from termination if they stay home. The argument for the law was always about common sense and fairness. It enshrined the principle that a workplace must be safe, fair, and respectful of the lives of workers. It was, and still is, a tremendous accomplishment of which all fair-minded New Yorkers can be proud.”

“A Better Balance was proud to help lead the incredible coalition of advocates, unions, health providers and more in fighting to successfully pass a universal paid sick time law in New York ten years ago,” said Sherry Leiwant, co-president and co-founder of A Better Balance. “With the bold and tenacious leadership of our sponsor Council Member Gale Brewer, we worked tirelessly to rally support for the bill so that millions of New Yorkers could gain access to paid sick leave. This landmark victory made sick time a right at last for New York City workers – 40% of whom previously had no paid sick time – but also paved the way for passage of similar laws in 15 states and most major cities, extending this critical right to the 57 million Americans now covered by paid sick time laws. Ten years later, this remains a massive achievement, and this program continues to make a world of difference in New Yorkers’ lives.”

“In April 2014, the city took a bold step in enhancing the rights of working New Yorkers with the passage of the Paid Safe and Sick Law,” said Manny Pastreich, president of 32BJ SEIU. “A decade later, we should celebrate the impacts of this groundbreaking legislation. The Paid Safe and Sick Law saved lives during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and laid the groundwork for future regulations and legislation that builds on law to ensure fair treatment in New York’s workspaces. 32BJ is proud to have supported this legislation and to commemorate its passage.”

“The Community Service Society of New York (CSS) was an early proponent of paid sick leave and a leading advocate for passage of New York City’s landmark 2013 law, and its expansion in 2014, guaranteeing workers the right to sick time as a basic labor standard,” said David R. Jones, president and CEO of Community Service Society of New York (CSS). “That law has been successful in enabling workers to stay home when needed to care for their own illnesses or sick family members without losing their pay or their jobs, and avoid spreading illness to co-workers, customers and commuters. CSS was also proud to be part of the successful push for a city-wide educational campaign, featuring postings in pharmacies and healthcare institutions, alerting workers and marginalized communities of their rights to paid sick leave. The 10-year anniversary of this law is a fitting time to thank the all the elected officials who helped make the law possible, and acknowledge that the ability to maintain one’s health is not a privilege to be enjoyed by the wealthy or those who work in white collar jobs or in large firms. It is a protection that all workers deserve.”

“Carroll Gardens Association is thrilled to honor 10 years of New York City’s Paid Sick and Safe Leave today with our partners in the worker justice movement,” said Ben Fuller-Googins, deputy director of Carroll Gardens Association. “We have seen firsthand how transformative this legislation has been for thousands of domestic workers, historically excluded from similar protections, across the city. This law provided workers, many of them for the first time, an opportunity to take care of themselves and their loved ones without fear of losing work or being fired. We look forward to more initiatives like this, alongside partner organizations and elected officials, to continue to build our city as a leader in economic justice and a safe, supportive home for workers, no matter the circumstance.” 

“As we mark the 10th anniversary of the New York City Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, we celebrate a decade of tangible impact on the lives of working families across our City,” said Vincent Alvarez, president of New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “This landmark legislation has not only provided millions of workers with the crucial ability to care for themselves and their loved ones without fear of losing their job; it has also bolstered public health and strengthened our city’s economy. We thank DCWP for their continued partnership in ensuring that companies are held accountable and that workers are educated about their rights under the law.”

Under NYC’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, covered employees have the right to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member and to seek legal and social services assistance or take other safety measures if the employee or a family member may be the victim of any act or threat of domestic violence or unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking. Employers and employees can visit nyc.gov/workers or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for more information about the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, including the required Notice of Employee Rightsin multiple languages, and to file a complaint.

Workers can file a complaint online or call 311 if they believe their rights have been violated. Complaints can be filed anonymously. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for using safe and sick leave or for filing complaints.

The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 45,000 businesses in more than 40 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp

Photo credit: HWM.


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