NEW YORK, Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the strongest paid family leave policy in the nation. But according to advocates for workplace safety, even that law doesn't go far enough.
According to a study published by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, nearly 50 million workers nationwide lack paid sick leave. For many of those workers, that means they're going to work while sick, with all of the risks that entails.
Employees who go to work with communicable diseases risk spreading those diseases to colleagues and customers. But that's not the only risk, according to worker's compensation attorney Edgar N. Romano, a senior partner at the New York law firm Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP.
"Our firm has handled hundreds of claims involving people who were injured on the job because they – or a colleague – went to work while they were already ill or injured," said Romano. "Sick workers may be fatigued or disoriented, and that increases the risk of an accident. They should have the opportunity to seek medical care or stay home and rest, but too many have to go to work because they can't afford to take an unpaid day off."
The new state law, which Governor Cuomo signed on April 4, will provide mandatory paid leave for employees who need to care for infants or seriously ill family members, beginning in 2018. But it does not mandate paid leave for employees who are themselves sick.
"What we've seen is that the most vulnerable workers are also the most likely to lack paid sick leave," Romano continued. "Too many single parents, minorities and minimum-wage workers have to choose between their health and their income, and they end up putting themselves at risk. No one should have to make that choice."
In New York City, however, all employers with five or more employees are required to provide paid sick leave, thanks to the city's Paid Sick Leave Law that went into effect in April 2014.
"Since the Paid Sick Leave Law went into effect, we've seen real benefits here in New York City, both from a public health and workplace safety perspective," said Romano. "We'll continue to fight to make sure that workers who are at their most vulnerable can get the help they need."
Contact: Attorney Edgar Romano
Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP
233 Broadway, Suite 820
New York, NY 10279
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SOURCE Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP