Legislation to expand unlimited sick leave benefits for public sector officers and employees who developed a qualifying health condition from their response to 9/11 rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts at the World Trade Center has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“On September 11, 2001, the best of humanity and the worst of humanity were displayed – the worst of us flew airplanes into the Twin Towers, while the best of us rushed inside to help their brothers and sisters without a second thought,” Governor Cuomo said. “It is critical that we honor these courageous efforts and by signing this bill into law today, we make it clear that New York stands behind the first responders in their time of need just as they stood with New York on that tragic day 16 years ago. Our message is simple: we will always have your back.”
Under the bill, sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Marty Golden and passed by the legislature earlier this year, qualifying individuals would be eligible for unlimited paid leave at 100 percent of their regular salary dating back to the time of their diagnosis.
“This legislation will help the thousands of brave men and women who put their lives on the line to save others during the tragic events that unfolded on September 11, 2001,” said Golden. “The first responders who led recovery efforts on that day, and the weeks and months that followed, deserve the very best health care and assistance New York has to offer, and I commend the governor for signing this legislation as we will continue to support these heroes.”
The legislation applies to all officers and employees currently working for a municipality, public authority, or state employer outside of New York City regardless of their employer on 9/11 who participated in 9/11 rescue, recovery, or cleanup activities and subsequently developed a qualifying World Trade Center health condition as defined by the statute.
Similar paid leave benefits are currently available for New York City Police, Fire, Correction, and Sanitation Departments for injuries and illnesses obtained in the line of duty. Outside of New York City, some municipalities provide similar line-of-duty coverage for their paid police officers and firefighters. The state will reimburse municipalities and authorities for the cost.
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