New York City is poised to mandate that companies provide paid sick leave to their employees, The New York Times reports.

Eventually, the law would require companies with at least 15 employees to give full-time workers five paid sick days off a year. However, the bill wouldn’t take effect until spring 2014 and for the first year, would only affect companies with 20 or more workers.

The legislation has been bitterly argued by opponents, even though it’s less stringent than laws in Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, which all have paid sick leave policies that apply to either companies of all sizes, or those with five or more workers.

The Huffington Post reports that the new law could be the beginning of a groundswell of similar laws in other states, and notes that it had support from many small business owners. Similar bills are being considered in Vermont and Massachusetts.

What do you think about laws requiring paid sick leave for employees? Do you currently let employees take time off (paid or unpaid) for illness?