Photo: RichardBH via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing a measure, which, if passed, would make the Big Apple the first place in the nation to require private-sector employers to provide paid vacation to employees.  The details of the plan have not yet been released, but the New York Times is reporting that the law would require private employers with five or more employees to provide at least two weeks of paid vacation.  City Hall officials have estimated that approximately half a million NYC workers would benefit from the new law.

Currently, no laws anywhere in the Unites States require private employers to provide paid vacation, although most white-collar and union workers get some kind of paid vacation as an employee benefit.  The proposed law would primarily benefit non-union, hourly workers in places like hotels, restaurants and retail stores.

The United states is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee paid vacation time to workers.  European countries are particularly generous with paid time off.  Austria provides workers with 38 paid days off through a combination of vacation and holidays.  Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, and Spain are also very generous with paid time off, each guaranteeing 36 days off with pay.

Could a measure like this pass in Massachusetts?  There is no paid vacation legislation currently pending before the Legislature, but the enactment of earned sick time in 2015, and last year’s first-in-the-nation paid family and medical leave law, suggest that Massachusetts might be amenable to providing even more paid time off to workers.  Bay State employers will want to keep a close eye on how this proposed measure progresses in New York.