Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Speaks With Volunteers at Paid Sick Leave Day of Action

July 16, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Alright, alright, here we go. They’re handing me some helpful remarks in a book, but I’m going to – there you go, look at that. So, first of all, the most important thing I’m going to say, I want to thank everyone who is here early in the morning, early in the morning to get the word out to your fellow New Yorkers about the importance of paid sick leave. So because you are good citizens, because you are part of a movement all over this city to spread the word on paid sick leave, please give yourselves a round of applause this morning.

[Cheers]

Alright, now these leaflets are going to open up for people – a lot of help for their families, the ability to get well when you’re sick, the ability not to lose pay when you’re sick or a family member is sick. This is a great blessing, and you’re going to be able to give this information to people who need it, so they can take advantage of this new right they have. So remember, every time you’re passing out one of these leaflets, you’re having an impact on someone’s life. [inaudible] Julie Menin.

Okay, now, I want to tell you that we – this year, we did something historic and important for this city. We added over a half million people to the paid sick leave law, and then we moved the law faster than it was originally scheduled. So now over a million New Yorkers are covered right now. Right now.

[Cheers]

And that means that 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. Not end up in a situation where they have to make that choice. And today – so many people have faced for years and years and years, if you’re sick, you go to work sick, you get sicker, and you spread the disease. Or if you stay home you lose a day’s pay, two-day’s pay, three-day’s pay, a week’s pay. And we all know, all over this city, there’s not many people who can lose a few day’s pay or a week’s pay. So this law finally gives people the rights that so many others have enjoyed – to be able to take that time to get well, not spread the sickness – not share the sickness with your coworkers and your customers. Get well, and not lose pay in the process. It gives people a little more economic security when so many New Yorkers are struggling. And what’s happening today – almost 1,400 people, just like you are all over this city today, passing out leaflets, helping people get informed about paid sick leave, letting them know what their rights are, improving their lives and their families lives. That’s what’s happening today. This is an unprecedented action by a city agency, and I want to commend Commissioner Julie Menin and the Consumer Affairs Department. They’re doing something they’ve never done before, they are taking it to the streets.

[Cheers]

And I want to thank Julie and her whole team because they wanted to go out to the subways and meet the people, and get the word out. This day of action is a new thing we’ll be doing with city agencies, going where people are. Going to subways, going to subways, going to bus stops, going to the people to let them know their rights, to let them know what we can do to help. Community leaders, activists, people all over the city signed up to join with the Consumer Affairs Department and get the word out. We want to thank Julie and Consumer Affairs because they’re the ones that make sure this law gets implemented right, and make sure people get what they need.

I also want to thank our elected officials who have been great partners in this, Borough President Eric Adams –

[Cheers]

Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, who voted for the law.

[Cheers]

Assemblymember Walter Mosely, give him a round of applause.

[Applause]

Now, the bottom line here is that we believe we need a healthy city, and we need people to have economic stability. We don’t want to have a situation where people have to choose between their health and the ability to put food on the table for their families. We want a little more decency in our society, where people can have both. And that’s what we’re fighting for today. July 30, July 30 is the day when people can start to utilize the days that they’ve accrued. That’s why we’re doing this blitz now to get the word out now, because after July 30 folks have accrued paid sick days, and if they legitimately need those paid sick days, that’s when they can start to utilize them.

Now you may ask, how do people get information if they’re not lucky enough to meet one of you at the subway? Well they call 311, they can call 311 and get all the information they need about their rights and how to get sick days that they have already accrued. Or they can go online, nyc.gov/paidsickleave.

Now let’s just do a moment en español and then we’re going back to leafleting the people and getting them the information they need. En español: La nueva ley de ausencia laboral por enfermedad le pide a la mayoría de los dueños de negocios que garanticen días de enfermedad a sus trabajadores, para que cuiden de si mismos o sus familiares. A partir del 30 de julio, los trabajadores pueden comenzar a usar los días de enfermedad que hayan acumulado. Hoy, voluntarios por toda la ciudad están pasando la voz en sus comunidades sobre esta ley.

And thank you voluntarios for all your work!

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

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