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If you fly on Virgin America, your odds of getting sneezed on by a flight attendant have gone down. For that, thank the mayor. The de Blasio administration has been leaning on airlines to honor the city's Earned Sick Time Act, which requires employers to...

One airline de Blasio doesn't have to pressure over sick leave? Virgin America

If you fly on Virgin America, your odds of getting sneezed on by a flight attendant have gone down. For that, thank the mayor. The de Blasio administration has been leaning on airlines to honor the city's Earned Sick Time Act, which requires employers to...

One airline de Blasio doesn't have to pressure over sick leave? Virgin America

If you fly on Virgin America, your odds of getting sneezed on by a flight attendant have gone down. For that, thank the mayor.

The de Blasio administration has been leaning on airlines to honor the city's Earned Sick Time Act, which requires employers to provide workers with at least five paid sick or vacation days per year. At a Crain's forum Thursday, Lorelei Salas, commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, confirmed that Virgin America has recently changed its policy and started providing paid sick leave.

Earlier this month the city brought a case against Delta Air Lines for failing to provide sick leave to employees here. Delta argues that the city statute only applies to people doing work in New York, which would exempt employees who work 35,000 feet up. According to the Daily News, the city has been looking at three other unidentified airlines or their subcontractors for failing to provide mandated sick leave.

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"We have a number of open investigations," Salas said at the breakfast event in Midtown. "If it's possible for one airline [to comply], it should be possible for the rest."

Photo: Buck Ennis Salas confirmed the policy change at a Crain's forum Thursday.

Virgin America is the city's ninth-largest carrier, based on the number of passengers, according to data from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the metro area's major airports. Delta flew nearly 30 million people into and out of area airports last year, or 15 times more than Virgin America.

Virgin America was acquired in December by the owner of Alaska Airlines. A spokesman for the airline didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Salas said she has staffed a new labor office within her department with about 35 people, mostly investigators and lawyers. The mayor and City Council passed the paid-leave law shortly after de Blasio took office in January 2014.

If you fly on Virgin America, your odds of getting sneezed on by a flight attendant have gone down. For that, thank the mayor.

The de Blasio administration has been leaning on airlines to honor the city's Earned Sick Time Act, which requires employers to provide workers with at least five paid sick or vacation days per year. At a Crain's forum Thursday, Lorelei Salas, commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, confirmed that Virgin America has recently changed its policy and started providing paid sick leave.

Earlier this month the city brought a case against Delta Air Lines for failing to provide sick leave to employees here. Delta argues that the city statute only applies to people doing work in New York, which would exempt employees who work 35,000 feet up. According to the Daily News, the city has been looking at three other unidentified airlines or their subcontractors for failing to provide mandated sick leave.

"We have a number of open investigations," Salas said at the breakfast event in Midtown. "If it's possible for one airline [to comply], it should be possible for the rest."

Virgin America is the city's ninth-largest carrier, based on the number of passengers, according to data from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the metro area's major airports. Delta flew nearly 30 million people into and out of area airports last year, or 15 times more than Virgin America.

Virgin America was acquired in December by the owner of Alaska Airlines. A spokesman for the airline didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Salas said she has staffed a new labor office within her department with about 35 people, mostly investigators and lawyers. The mayor and City Council passed the paid-leave law shortly after de Blasio took office in January 2014.

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