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Mayor Bill de Blasio Set to Unveil Guaranteed Paid Time Off for New Yorkers

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is preparing to launch a plan no other city or state can offer.

On Wednesday, de Blasio is expected to announce legislation that will make it a requirement for all New York City employers to offer their workers two weeks guaranteed of paid time off. The legislation, which would need to pass through the City Council to become law, would pave the way for 500,000 additional New Yorkers to received paid time off, according to the Washington Post, which learned of de Blasio’s move.

No other city or state in the United States has a law mandating guaranteed paid time off. However, several countries around the world, including New Zealand and Greece, have similar legislation. Proponents say that guaranteed paid time off ultimately contributes to broader citizen health and well-being. Critics worry that it could hurt businesses.

For his part, de Blasio told the Washington Post in an e-mail that he believes the “city’s businesses will benefit from a more productive, healthier workforce.” Forty percent of the 500,000 workers estimated to benefit from the new legislation will come from the hospitality industry, according to data provided by the mayor’s office. Another 180,000 will come from “professional and business services” and 90,000 workers in retail will benefit from it.

The mayor has been one of the more outspoken proponents of improving benefits for American workers. He said on MSNBC on Tuesday that “health care is a right—not a privilege.” It came on the heels of de Blasio announcing a $100 million plan to bring health care to low-income residents and undocumented immigrants.